The Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All, on the 9th and 10th of March, 2020, played host to 210, NGOs, CBOs, Youth Groups, Women Organizations, Students Union and FBOs from all over Nigeria, at a 2day National Education Conference in Abuja.
The conference which was declared open by the Hon. Minister of States for Education, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba, had also the representatives of the Hon. Minister of States, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDG (SSAP-SDG), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, international Donor Organizations; Malala Foundation, Plan International, Actionaid Nigeria.
The conference deliberated on issues of partnerships, education financing and Strong social accountability mechanism as a tool to achieving the sustainable development goals.
With 200 plus advocates engaging with government at all levels, it is convenient to say that Nigeria is moving in the right part to achiving sustainable development, if the enabling platforms are enable. SDGs4 Pakistan Global Advocacy for African Affairs
A well come remarks presented at the Civil Society National Education Conference 2020, held at the Barcelona Hotel WuseII 9th of March, 2020,
The Hon Minister of State for Education
The Honorable Minister of state for Education
Executive Secretaries of Departments and Agencies
The president of the World bank ably represented
Heads of Diplomatic Corps
Funders and Development Partners
Board, Coordinators and Members of the CSACEFA
Media Executives present
Ladies and Gentle Men
It is with a large and profound heart of gratitude that I well come you to this first of its kind Civil Society National Education Conference, holding today and tomorrow. We cannot thank you enough for answering short notice leaving other very important schedules.
To some, we will say that the Conference is long overdue, to some it could not have come at a better time than this, and to us at CSACEFA, it is the biggest moment for use, especillay in our quest o advocating and working towards quality and inclusive education, promoting Gender in Education, through Gender at the center and Gender Responsive Education Sectors and strengthening partnership.
It is a common axiom amongst us that education is the key to national development and economic empowerment. And we all cannot agree less that Education in Nigeria needs urgent attention, in all spheres and at every level, whether Formal or Non Formal sector. We cannot but appreciate the federal government for the laudable policies, the various acts/laws promoting right to education and dignity for all like the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act 2003, the Child right Act 2004, National Policy on Inclusive Education, National Policy on Gender, which presently being reviewed by the federal Government with support from UNICEF. Also the international communities for their presence in supporting the policies of the federal government; World Bank, Global Partnership for Education, USAID, the MacArthur foundation, United Nation Agencies, the private sector and all the Civil Society Organizations working in their different capacities.
These presence and efforts so laudable, we have continued to witness increasing rate of out of school children especially the girl child. (The statistics we have today points to the fact that there are 13.2 Million out of school children in Nigeria. 68% percent of this number of out of school children are girls), ill equipped public schools, inadequate infrastructures declining learning outcomes, School related gender based violence, a non-Gender Responsive Education Sector plans, Low budgetary allocation and disbursement of education funds, states not accessing education funds and all the challenges.
For us as CSACEFA we have asked ourselves continually, what could be the cause of these, even with the monies and support from local and international bodies. The quest was not too far from us as it was reading glaring on our faces even among CSACEFA Members: Lack of partnership leading to unhealthy competition, Weak or even the lack of Social Accountability mechanism for knowledge sharing and even when such exited, CSOs and even government hold back information. All these makes monitoring of policies, programs and projects difficult if not impossible. Hence this conference with the Theme: Strengthening Advocacy for Partnership, Engagements, Reforms and Monitoring: A Panacea for Sustainable, Inclusive and Quality Education for all
Honorable Minister Sir, recall at the GPE replenishment in Dakar 2019, the federal government pledged to raise education budgetary allocation to 15%. This is 2020 and the budget is still hanging at a little above 7%. Needles to compare us to other countries in Africa like Ghana and other whose national education budget is 25% and above. This conference honorable minister will like to request that the replenishment pledge we made before the whole world be consciously implemented. This will go a long way to solving the educational issues we have in this country.
The sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal has provided a pointer to us, we cannot achieve the 16 goals without partnership, even SDGs 4 and 5 which is our main focus cannot be achieved if within us we can not partner
This two-day conference therefore is to
Provide a platform for National, local NGOs and partners the opportunity to share their works in the education sector and chart a way forward on achieving inclusive and quality education.
Provide a platform for CSOs engagement and networking towards educational development and achieving Education 2030 in Nigeria.
Further strengthen the capacity of CSOs on their roles in ensuring the delivery of education programs towards increasing enrollment and retention, transition and completion of basic and secondary education.
Provide opportunity for government to commit to the financing, efficient and effective delivery of education programs and projects in Nigeria.
Create avenue for CSOs and citizens to annually develop and derive policy positions on education delivery in Nigeria.
Honorable minister, Partners funders and CSOs. This conference is quite remarkable coming at a time when the world is celebrating the international women day, the decade of of action and marking 20years of the establishment of CSACEFA. What ever decisions we take here today while remain historical, pointing to how serious we are in solving the intersecting education challenges in Nigeria.
Before i close this speech, I will like to thank in a special way the National Coordinator, Nigeria Partnership for education Project (NIPEP) and Team Mr Achede Joseph, the World Bank Team headed by Dr. Adekola and the Federal Ministry of Education for the Support in ensuring that this conference was called at this critical time of our nations education sector challenges.
Once again, on behalf of the Members, Board, partners and staff of CSACEFA, we say thank you for coming and do hope that our deliberation in this two days of gathering will place us on the right path to partnership for quality and inclusive education.