COVID-19 Press Statement: CSACEFA Charges Government on Education Needs at All Levels

 

National Moderator, CSACEFA Nigeria

CIVIL SOCIETY ACTION COALITION ON EDUCATION FOR ALL

COVID-19 Press Statement: CSACEFA Charges Government on Education Needs at All Levels

COVID-19 RESPONSE

Press Release

The wake of the second quarter of 2020, remains very significant to the people and government of the Federal republic of Nigeria with the wake of the COVID-19 Global pandemic. We will recall that on the 24th of February, the federal Government of Nigeria announce the confirmation of the first Covid-19 case in the country, of an Italian personnel who travelled into the country for a business meeting.  By march, 23rd more cases of the virus were announced. To this end the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria took a decision to put the high risk stakes of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states on complete Lockdown for 14days starting from Monday the 30th of March, 2020. By the end of the 14days’ period, the president extended the lockdown for another from the 13th of March 2020. This is why I said the, “The country both the government and the citizens had to take a decisive decision, which invariably is changing the Socio-Political and economic plans and policies of the country.

The Covid-19 and the decision on the Federal government has put everyone on alert and we have seen that the education sector is not spared, School calendars have been altered and our children are forced to stay at home and have been encouraged t learn from home.

CSACEFA RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19

  1. Engagement with Government at states Level: In the wake of the covid-19, the coalition had engaged with the relevant education MDAs at National and states levels especially at FCT, Ogun and Lagos, to request the commissioner of education to close down schools, this we had done in collaboration with other civil Society Organizations within these states, these moves saw to the Lagos state government closing schools, followed by Ogun state and later FCT.

  1. Partnership and Collaborations: we understand that fighting the corona virus to a standstill requires a collective effort; partnership and collaboration. CSACEFA members, at all levels were encouraged and they began partnering with other NGO especially in the health sector on the best ways to communicate and sensitize the general public.

  2. Community Sensitization and awareness: The coalition mobilized members in all the 36 states and the FCT to engage in grass root sensitization. Many of these were done within members’ immediate communities (Observing the Social and personal distancing), producing online banners, short videos/drams, jingles, radio/television appearance and Social Media, sensitizing the public on the COVID-19, prevention, care and especially adhering to the directives of the Federal, States and local governments directives to fight the covid-19. For instance, members’ in

  3. Taraba produced Jingles, conducted community sensitization

  4. Lagos has been engaging with states and community authorities on sensitization

  • Delta State has been collaborating with Government and CBOs to provide palliatives for indigent persons and also sensitizing them on social distancing.

  1. At the FCT, the national Secretariat has been in meetings and discussions with the Federal Ministry of Education on teachers and students’ development in the midst of the lockdown.

  2. Community Support and Distribution of Palliatives towards alleviating hardship occasioned by the lockdown: One other striking response of the coalition at community and states level was the initiation of the “CSACEFA COVID-19 Community Support Initiative Project (CSIP)”. Through this initiative, the coalition has collaborated with Community Development Unions, Non-Governmental Organizations, Local Authorities traditional leaders and people in diaspora, to find ways around supporting the people through the provision palliatives in the forms of food to indigent and marginalized. We have recorded good support form good spirited Nigerians and citizens in the states supporting this project.

GOING FORWARD

We want to state that the coalition commends the efforts of federal and states government in the bid to containing the covid-19. We appreciate also the efforts of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 the daily briefing, this has reduced the adherence to fake news.  However, we must state here that there is still much to be done and especially in being transparent enough especially

  1. Education Financing: We are very much concerned on the toll this covid-19 is taking on education and now (the shutdown of schools across the country) and later. We are aware that the government has trimmed down the 2020 National budget. We want to by this briefing remind the Federal Government that education remains the only tool to ensuring nation building. Already, the 2020 budget allocation to education is about 7% which is far less than the recommended 20% by world bodies and less than the 15% replenishment pledge of the federal government in 2017 at Dakar. The Federal Government should remember that since this pledge was made the education budget has not risen up to 10%. It is very important that despite the reduction in the budget we strongly recommend that the education allocation should NOT be further reduced. The post COVID-19 will come with serious educational responsibilities especially providing learning facilities, and gender friendly and responsive wash facilities.

  2. COVID-19 Funding: While we appreciate the efforts of the private sector and good spirited individuals and corporate bodies who have contributed to supporting the pandemic in the country, we urge the Government and all the ministries, Agencies Departments and committees bestowed with the responsibility of utilizing this funds to do so with show of transparency and accountability. At our last count, we have recorded over N2rillion in cash donation to the Federal Government. As a coalition, we urge the Federal Government to be transparent in the utilization of the funds. In doing this, there is need to activate the Social Accountability Mechanism; Citizens deserve the right to know every plan, procedures and where their money is being put to. The government cannot expect the citizens to trust them while they are kept in the dark and things are don in secrecy.

  3. Again, we have read in the News that N700billion of these donated money has been lost to a fire outbreak at the accountant general office in the month of March. This kept us wondering if the Office of the Accountant General is the Central Bank of Nigeria where the country finances is housed. By this, we are requesting by this press release a report of the incidence of the fire outbreak and why N700billion was kept outside the Central Bank of Nigeria. We demand that Civil Society should be in the investigation panel and this we will do by self-funding.

  1. Post Covid-19: We are very much concern about what will happen after now especially recovering our economy and restoring our education system. Now that we are still battling with the Corona virus, it is important that we began to think of what should be done after now. This is a good opportunity for us to begin putting necessary infrastructures in place for our students especially basic and secondary education. We call on the Federal Ministry of Education and other Departments and agencies to put together, online training course for teachers’ development. This is the right time to continue to develop our teachers. We must encourage our teachers to take online courses to improve their knowledge while we eagerly await the end of the Covid-19.

CONCLUSION:

While we expect immediate intensified efforts of the various government at Local, States and National level. We Urge them the realize that the landmark made in the fight against the Corona Virus can be credited to the level of literacy and Education on out Nigerian. It calls for a rethink on raise the bar on education.

We salute also the courage of all Civil Society Organizations, Community Based organizations and NGOs who are at the frontline sensitizing the communities and the general public and also providing support in the distribution of palliatives. In the serving humanity, we urge you to keep all the safety measures prescribed; Make Sure you observe the Social and Personal distancing, Wash your hands regularly with soap on running water for at least for 30 seconds and use alcohol based sanitizers always, Keep safe distance from persons who are coughing and sneezing at least 4feet apart, cover your nose with your elbow curve when coughing or sneezing and most importantly, if you don’t have any serious thing to do outside, Please stay at home.

Thank you

God Bless Nigeria………………………………………………. Nigeria is blessed

Published by

CSACEFA, Nigeria

The Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) is the National Education Coalition (NEC) in Nigeria, coordinating the activities of CSOs, FBOs, CBOs, Education Unions and Student Unions, working on education issues. The coalition is a membership organization, with her members and affiliates spread in all the 36 states of the federation. CSACEFA was founded in in 2000 as a response to attend the world education summit in Dakar. At the time, forty (40) NGOs come up with key positions and represented the voices of CSOS from Nigeria at the summit, since then, CSACEFA membership has increased to Six Hundred and Eighty (680) members, skilled in policy issues, project management and community mobilization. CSACEFA over these years has been inputting and contributing to education policies at Communities, State, National, Regional and Global spaces, in strong partnership with National and International Organizations working towards the advancement of education for all. CSACEFA is registered with the Federal Ministry of Education, Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), the Ministry of Budget and National planning and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). CSACEFA is affiliated to African Network Campaign for Education for All (ANCEFA at the Regional Level, and the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a member of the GPE Grants and Performance Committee (GPC), and a member of the CSOs2 (Implementing National Education Coalitions) at the global level.

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