It’s no secret that safety is one of the most critical issues faced by the African region. In recent times, Nigeria has come to face terrorizing cases ripping through her communities and ending the lives of many. On the news, it could always be correctly guessed that there has been some case of a communal clash, drug abuse, cultism, or delinquent juvenile act that has led to losses of lives and/or properties. What exactly could we infer is responsible for this appalling state of insecurity in the nation? In this blog post, we would attempt to expunge the roles of education in contributing to national and communal peace, what has been done, and what more should be done to have a safer and more peaceful Nigeria.
First, in a bid to give some context, let’s take a brief look at these scenarios: a large number of children social activists in the West – the likes of Greta Thunberg – addressing the United Nations’ leaders in protest for cleaner environments, juxtaposed with a large number of Nigerian children radicalized and given arms – by crooked elements of the society – to take the streets to perpetrate terror acts in furtherance of some political and/or religious agendas. The difference in these scenarios is rather obvious: the lack of, and kind of, education received. In Nigeria, it was estimated by the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) that about 35 percent of the nation’s adults – from the age of 15 – lack basic literacy skills in 2019. Also, several millions of children are out-of-school – at the mercies of religious, social, and political crooks and fanatics – ready to be plied to cause communal unrest.
Second is the educational content children are exposed to in schools. It begs to ask: are these contents sufficient to equip students with tools for conflict resolutions and peaceful coexistence? Truth is, more is required to be done to expose children to timely and effective information that would enable them to address issues in civil and non-violent manners and abstain from social vices.
Here are some positive activities going in the country in relations to education:
1. Social Advocacy
Lately, there is been a rise in advocacy for education. Civil Society Organizations have intensified their efforts to educate children, especially those in underserved areas, and call on both governmental and non-government stakeholders to intervene in the current states of education and safety. Recently, One African Child through her Education for Justice (E4J) program and various local chapters have visited several underserved communities to educate young pupils about respect, fairness, gender equality, empathy, and peace. And certainly, we’d be visiting more communities.
2. Increased Federal Allocation for Education
Well, more priority should be given to education by the Federal Government of Nigeria. However, in comparison to 2017 and 2018, 2020 received more allocation. NGN112 billion was budgeted in 2020; in 2018, the budget was NGN109.6 billion and NGN95 billion in 2017. Apparently, Education takes the fourth position in the federal budget after Works (NGN262bn), Power (NGN127bn), and Transportation (NGN123bn). Perhaps, there is a glimmer of hope for Education in Nigeria – we do hope so.
Certainly, more is needed to be done. Although we see these positive reports as above, the growing cases of moral decadence amongst young folks are unbecoming, and the best tool to curb this is Education. Instead of loaded rifles, let’s give our kids quality education and we can all sleep like babies at night!