A non-governmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE), in partnership with other Civil Society Organisations, has called for the urgent need to amend the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act.
The call was made by the organisation during a press conference in Abuja.
The CEO of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, while speaking said that people who are uneducated, have a higher likelihood of living in poverty, facing a lifetime marred by poor health and social vulnerability. He said that if not addressed the issue is a ticking time bomb.
“People who are illiterate are far more likely to live in poverty, facing a lifetime marred by poor health and social vulnerability. The security and development implications of this epidemic should be the preoccupation of well-meaning Nigerians. If unaddressed, this is a ticking time bomb.
“No nation can achieve economic prosperity without a sound, inclusive and functional basic education system. The security and stability of the country, to a large extent, depends on its ability to provide functional education to its citizens. We are calling on the leadership of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara; minister of education, Hon Adamu Adamu; President Muhammadu Buhari, to #AmendUBEAct without further delay if we must address our degenerating security situations and avert a consequential national disaster/calamity.”
At the return of democracy in 1999, the three tiers of government publicly declared support for educational development in the country. National Interventions of varying degrees have sought to provide a lasting solution to the challenge of illiteracy and innumeracy in Nigeria. As a result, the federal government, in 2004, enacted the UBE Act.
In the UBE Act of 2004, the government provided for a compulsory free education to Nigerian children for nine years only, covering primary and junior secondary education. As laudable as the intervention was, the act has not completely succeeded in returning children of school age back to the classrooms over the years. Instead, due to population pressures; inflation; rising cost of living; and limited political will etc, Nigeria has witnessed an explosion in the number of Out-of-School children (OOSC) which has resulted in the indictment of Nigeria, the sixth biggest oil producer in the world, for harbouring the biggest percentage of OOSC in the world.
Rising to the challenge, the Nigerian Senate amended the UBE Act on 27th July, 2017, from nine to twelve years. However, the House of Representatives till now, has not amended the UBE Act despite the urgent need to scale up free and compulsory education in the country.
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