Promoting access to Education for Children: FG, UNICEF Builds Capacity of Journalists
…..as Minister says, Preparing Children is the Future of Nigeria
By ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kano
As part of efforts to build the capacity of journalists in promoting access to education for children in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Information in collaboration with the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) on Monday begins a two day training workshop in Kano, for journalists across the country.
Declaring the workshop open, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the workshop was necessary because Nigeria’s future prosperity depends on producing children who are well prepared to take their place in tomorrow’s society.
The Minister was represented by Olumide Osanyinpeju, Deputy Director and Head of Child Rights Information Beurue of the ministry.
Mohammed said, “Unfortunately, a large number of Nigerian children are at risk of deprivations of basic social amenities.
They are situated in the rural and hard-to-reach communities. Majority of them are also living in conflict, and communities under emergencies, and it has been difficult taking basic amenities to them.
It is worthy to note that efforts have been made by government at bridging the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged in the country”.
According to him, the efforts were put especially in the areas of provision of adequate infrastructure and facilities for the disadvantaged groups and hard to reach communities.
He explained that Government has come to the realisation that basic education is essential for every Nigerian child and lack of access to this basic service is an infringement on the rights of the child.
The Minister added that the need for equity, a realisation that all children have the right to better life, opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potentials without discrimination, bias or favouritism, cannot be over emphasized.
He therefore said there is a growing evidence that investing in education and protection of the most disadvantaged vulnerable citizens, in this case children, and addressing inequality will ensure sustained growth and stability of any nation.
“There is the need to integrate children, especially those in difficult terrain and other excluded children and focus on equitable distribution of opportunities now”he said.
Mohammed reiterated that in the bid to ensure that Government attain measurable success, it has become necessary to involve every relevant actor in this process.
According to him, such actors including government, media, bloggers, civil societies organisation, communities, and other stakeholders concerned.
“Let me emphasize that the media, this time around the bloggers are expected to drive the campaign here, to bring to public awareness the utmost importance of education for children.
“The media may not be successful in telling people what to think, but are definitely successful in telling people what to think of.
“We, therefore, need our media persons and on-line journalists to start making the Nigerian people to think of how to tackle the low level of awareness that exists amongst our people towards the realisation of the rights of children to education, developmental and survival issues.
“May we be reminded once again that communication has always been an essential element of individual and social change that would lead, to the achievement of progress results.
“In this regard, there is need for value re-orientation through advocacy and sensitization in this area. I therefore encouraged you to also work assiduously to develop clear messages that will sensitize and inspire your clients.” He added.