The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) joins the rest of the world in marking the International Day of Education. This year's commemoration, only the third since a United Nations resolution created the anniversary in December 2018, comes amidst the second wave of a viral pandemic which has wreaked untold havoc on all facets of human existence, including education.
Before the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, global education was experiencing mixed fortunes in all ramifications - enrolment, quality, inclusivity, and equity. According to the United Nations, by this time last year, about 260 million children and youth were out of school, with over 600 million children and adolescents unable to read or solve basic mathematical problems.
We recognise how some of these dire statistics have adversely impacted a world in desperate need of equitable, affordable, and inclusive education in order to create the lifelong opportunities that will break the cycle of poverty around the globe. This situation has been made even more precarious by the worldwide disruption to the education sector by the Coronavirus scourge. All strata of learning institutions have been affected on an unprecedented level, leading to a near-truncation of the education of over I.6 billion people in about 190 countries.
It is in line with the above, and due to the grave danger, which it portends for the world's future, that the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) keys into the United Nations theme for this year's International Day of Education: “Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation.” It is a message laden with the genuine intent of the world body to galvanise all the international collaborations needed to ensure that the devastating effects of the pandemic on education are mitigated in an effective and efficient manner. It is a clarion call for the sort of solidarity required to put education in the front burner of recovery efforts at all levels.
NAS calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to lead the charge in line with this international recovery plan. The country is currently perched on an inglorious pedestal in the global scheme of things - home to 1 out of every 5 out-of-school children in the world (a whopping 10.5 million children). It will amount to a monumental tragedy if Nigeria permits the pandemic to worsen what is already a pathetic state of affairs by adopting a lethargic posture in unfolding global Covid-19 recovery strategies.
The priority for the government must be to increase investment in education as current levels of investment are grossly inadequate not to mention the dire need for competent implementation of the national education policy and its management.
Accessibility to schools and teachers for basic education are pathetically insufficient and inefficient, which is made worse by the poor facilities at many primary schools across the country. A good primary school education is the foundation of all future achievements for every citizen and it underpins any academic, vocational, and technical skills acquired in tertiary education. It is not just vital to the child, but also critical for our economy and to the development of the country.
We also call on all relevant stakeholders in Nigeria's education system to collaborate with the government in this regard, and the larger Sustainable Development Goal 4 of making education key to all development efforts are met. Only by doing these can we foster a stronger and more prosperous universe built on the timeless precepts of genuine equity and ennobling shared humanity.