As part of the process of preparing for the upcoming Youth Assembly at the UN during which members of Cares Global Network (publisher of Willows Magazine) would be representing the Nigerian Youth Council (NYC), we asked our delegates to do a Willows Mirror report on their MDG goals. Here we share with you Lanre Jolaoso's paper. Lanre is a member of CGN and a Willows Magazine columnist.
Achieving Universal Primary Education - Lanre Jolaoso
Education is a critical issue in the development of any nation, a nation that fails to invest adequately in it would obviously suffer the consequences. A lot of attention is needed particularly in developing countries such as ours if the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets are to be met. I was opportune to have done some parts of my national service in some part of Northern Nigeria; there I was able to witness the apathy residents have towards education, particularly “western education”. Even with the incentives of feeding in schools offered by the local and state governments to keep the children in school, there are still large numbers of them who engage in other things like street begging and hawking during school hours amongst others.
The schools that exist there also lack the infrastructure to work efficiently; from the non-availability of study materials to the use of unqualified teachers and so on; a situation that has led to the heavy reliance of youths corps member who must also be mentioned are mostly not trained teachers. A lot of investment and sensitisation has to be done in these areas in order to ensure sustainable development and deter youths from being misled into extremisms and other vices.
There are significant social and economic differences between developed and developing countries. The underlying cause of these differences is rooted in how one has been able to invest in Education and how the products of this investment are contributing towards his economy and nation building; and how the other has failed to adequately invest in this sector. All nations that have attained development and those on the path to it are nations that have taken education seriously and have devoted the recommended budgetary percentage into the development of its youths and educational sectors.
The UN has to review the MDGs particularly that of achieving universal basic education which in my opinion is most crucial; and look at ways of ensuring compliance by member states towards commitments made for the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goals. The only chance developing nations have to attain development is if the target of achieving universal basic education is met. Hence a higher priority must be placed on it and all efforts must be geared towards attaining it. The Politicisation of the issue of education must cease and all stakeholders must genuinely put hands on deck to make sure that every child in Nigeria is given the right to quality basic education.