2023: Malala Fund, CSOs Launch Manifesto to Set Education Agenda for Political Parties
- Nigeria still accounts for the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, with UNICEF putting the figure at 18.5 million
- As the country prepares for another round of elections, civil society groups have put together a document to hold contestants accountable if they win
- Among other things, those seeking for public offices have been tasked to commit to spend 4% GDP and 22.5% of the national budget for education by 2025
FCT, Abuja – Over 80 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria led by Malala Fund have launched a manifesto to set education agenda for political parties and their presidential candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The manifesto was launched at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja attended by a Legit.ng reporter.
Addressing journalists at the launch of the manifesto, Malala Fund Country Lead, Fatima Askira, said that the purpose is to ensure political candidates commit to prioritising education in Nigeria.
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”What we want to do with this manifesto is engage with the candidates, interact with them and get their commitment on what they would want to do with education, either through their signatures, endorsing it and adopting it.
”This way, we get a valid reason to ensure that when they are in office, we can come back and say this is what you promised us; so we can have them sign and agree to what is in the manifesto and have them commit to it.”
Also speaking, the Executive Director of Invictus Africa, Bukky Shonibare, urged citizens to demand and track the implementation of the promises of candidates after they get into office.
She said it is not enough for political candidates to make promises, noting that:
”For every citizen of Nigeria, it is our collective responsibility as citizens to demand and to track the implementation of these policies and promises.
”Come on social media, when you meet them one-on-one, ask them what they are doing, when you see them in meetings, ask them what they are doing.
”Until we get to that point where citizens are conscious and we occupy the office of the citizens and we have it as a collective responsibility, these things will not move.”
On his part, UNICEF Nigeria Education Specialist, Murtala Mohammed, urged journalists to ask political candidates questions in the area of free basic education for students, and the area of funding.
He added that education is not free if a parent has to buy books, bags, uniforms for their wards.
The 7 key demands of the CSOs are:
1. Amend the legislation to make education free and compulsory up to senior secondary level, thus guaranteeing 12 years of interrupted education for Nigerian children.
2. Adopt a progressive universalisation approach to the implementation of 12 years of education, which priorities support those at greatest risk of not learning – the poor, the discriminated against, girls, children with disabilities and those facing multiple disadvantages.
3. Commission a task force, including members of civil society, to develop a roadmap to achieve Nigeria’s commitment to spend 4% GDP and 22.5% of the national budget for education by 2025.
4. Establish and mainstream minimum standards and guidelines for financial planning for education to include guidance on gender-responsive planning and budgeting and the establishment of national education accounts.
5. Ensure that students deprived of access to quality education as a result of the conflict, violence or crises are promptly given access to quality alternative education in line with the National Guidelines for Accelerated Basic Education.
6. Effectively and immediately roll out the implementation of the Safe Schools Plan of Action and the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence Free schools.
7. Enhance teacher training on school related gender-based violence and create standard operating procedures for responding to rights violations and clear referral pathways for services.
The CSOs involved in putting together the manifesto includes Connected Development, YouthHub Africa, FlexiSAF Foundation, BudgIT Foundation, Step Up Nigeria, Save The Children, Life Helpers Initiative, Grow Strong Foundation, The Inclusion Project, among others.
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Addressing the media, Comrade Ikpa Isaac, executive secretary of CESJET, noted that the bill will save the future of Nigerian youths if signed into law.
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