International Youth Day: Time to Prepare Young People for Leadership – DevComs Network
By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
Development Communications (DevComs) Network, a media support organization with resources to help journalists in reporting science, public health and social sector issues, said the time has come for Nigeria to begin to prepare her young population to take over leadership roles as most progressive countries around the world do.
DevComs in a statement signed by Fausiat Bakare-Balogun Program Officer (Communications), in commemoration of the 2019, “International Youth Day” said, education is the best gift to bequeath to a child as it gives people the tools to help provide for themselves in the future.
According to the statement, education “has positive impact on key development parameters such that the rate of poverty, early girl child pregnancies and other social vices will be reduced among a large number of Nigerian youths.
“Specifically Nigeria need to take action now to prepare the youth population to take over leadership roles as evidenced in most progressive countries today. The involvement and education of young people in all facet of life should be taken with all seriousness.
“To address the present turmoil and gap in educational development among Nigerian youths the Nigerian government as well as parents and guardians, should take education as a paramount goal and a basic necessity of life.”
The statement noted that, “as the country joins the world to celebrate this year’s International Youth Day on August 12, 2019, themed “Transforming Education” it is pertinent to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” as enshrined in Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Evidences abound that educating girls is a major strategy to reducing poverty in Nigeria. Therefore government needs to ensure it breaks every barrier in other to make education and sexuality education a reality for every child especially girls. It needs to intensify efforts in monitoring outcomes, investing in teachers, making education either affordable or free and update education sector plan.”
The statement quoted Akin Jimoh, the Program Director at Development Communications Network as saying that “the statistics of out of school children is alarming, and a state of emergency should be declared on the country’s education sector. Educating children contributes to the economy, increase health gains, as people are more knowledgeable, and also help create world leaders. Not declaring a state of emergency on education is quietly stealing the potential of every Nigerian and the impact is not immediately visible till it’s too late”.
“According to UNICEF, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (10.5 million) with sixty per cent (60%) in Northern Nigeria. Also, about 60% of out-of-school children are girls. Majority of the girls enroll in school but many of those who do enroll drop out early. Some of the factors that increases drop out statistics in Nigeria includes; low perceptions of the value of education for girls, early marriages and low socio-economic status.
“Gender inequality continue to be a leading cause of education deprivation in the country. Adolescent girls and children are the most vulnerable groups who sometimes are denied of right to education due to early marriages, unplanned pregnancies and as such they drop out of school or not attend any. If youths are better informed and educated about their sexual rights, they will concentrate better in school to gain knowledge and have a better life.
“Education for young people encompasses learning about physical development, including sexual and reproductive knowledge, gender identity and social issues. It sits within the broader area of relationship education and includes violence prevention education. All young people need access to information and opportunities to be able to understand issues related to relationships, gender, sexual identities, sexual orientation, sexual behavior, sexual and reproductive health, and societal messages. Sexuality education is therefore paramount for every child and young people.
“Together let’s transform the education of our Youth in Nigeria and give them the best inheritance, that can be given to every child.” The statement added.