Bayelsa Times

Africa’s investment in quality education, lead way to sustainable development


As Nigeria and all African nations join the rest of the world today to celebrate the 2023″ International Day of  Education” theme: TO INVEST IN PEOPLE, PRIORITIZE EDUCATION, there is an urgent need to rebuild the educational system of the country.

As a nation and continent, we must prioritize our invest in education in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, if we must achieve all other goals come 2030 and beyond.

A time to review our educational policies and strictly implement all strategies that will be of great good to our citizens to face the daunting challenges ahead of them to enable meaningful contributions to national and continental development.

The United Nations General Assembly on the third day of December 2018 set aside January 24 as the ‘International Day of Education’ to recognize the veritable role of education as the enduring instrument for sustainable global development and peace.

It is a call to action to the entire countries of the world to pay priority attention to quality education and commit to the judicious financing and management of education, the best response to violence and poverty.

In Nigeria, it is no doubt that since 1999, the inception of democracy in Nigeria, poor budgetary allocation and corruption had been the greatest of menace to the country’s educational system which has had indelible adverse effects to the economy.

Over the years the reports of the Global Peace Index has shown that investment in quality education no doubt lays the foundation for sustainable development and peace of any nation who paid or pays priority attention to its education sector as well as other critical sectors.

It is deeply painful that a great nation and continent like Nigeria and Africa have consistently missed out of the positive side of the GPI list.

In a recent release of the, Global Peace Index 2022 Report, where countries like Iceland, Denmark & others took the lead while Nigeria was ranked 143 out of a 163 counties rated.

Our understanding of the fact that strategic and quality investment in our education, most importantly basic education and our public institutions today is a fight against poverty, poor human capital development, corruption, insecurity, kidnapping, banditry, political violence, illegal migration, violence and unemployment will be of great interest to our great nation and continent.

Also looking at the 2019 report of the Global Peace Index and the World Economic Forum one may not be wrong to say that Nigeria and the rest of the African world are yet to realize the economic importance of investment in quality education but (might have) indirectly invested in ‘insecurity’ through their progressive failure to accord grand attention and priority to the education of the citizens.

In deed its obvious that our inability to invest in quality education, health and welfare of our children in the past has caused Nigeria and the entire African continent their security, development and peace.

This is a glaring indication that when a country fails to invest in education indirectly it invest in violence, insecurity, vision less leadership, corruption, unemployment and lasting poverty.

If in consideration of the several yardstick for measuring the level of countries development ranging from literacy rate, infrastructure, Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) & others then you will agree with me that the best time to rise up & invest in people through education to also reduce the rising number of out-of school children in Nigeria and Africa for sustainable developed and peaceful Nigeria and continent is NOW.

From every indication, it is extremely glaring and no doubt that the world has clearly placed meaningful human and economic SURVIVAL in the hands of QUALITY and ALL INCLUSIVE EDUCATION & technology so the Nigeria states and federal government and all African nations must rise.

We all must rise today for the sake of our education system and the future of our great country and continent. It is high time we put an end to the consistent paying of lip service to our education and ensure genuine investment are made to see the new and great Nigeria and Africa of our dream come through.

It is our wish that Nigeria and Africa in general heed to the words of Nelson Mandela that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.

Therefore, if we must fight insecurity and poverty, if we must restore peace that will transcend to sustainable development of this nation, we must genuinely invest in quality education and health today, to build a “united, strong & self-reliant nation and continent”.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, where series of unfavorable projections and reports concerning the African children, ‘the expected highest beneficiaries of quality education’ and the Nigerian Children in particular by various development partners:

According to the United Nations, UN “African Child Population is expected to grow by 170million in 2030, (making Africa the largest child population continent in the world ).

This implies that by 2055 the population of children in Africa rises to 1billion and one (1) of every 13 child births globally will occur in Nigeria”.

The greatest challenge of how to reconcile the projected rapid population growth, poor investment in human capital, current rise of unemployment and insecurity, massive economic decline and the revamping of the economy after COVID -19 is the daunting TASK facing Nigeria and the rest of Africa that requires quality investment in education and our collective commitment.

Also, according to the 2022 report of the United Nation Children’s Fund ,UNICEF.

Nigeria currently has 18.5 million out-of -school children. UNICEF in its advice stated that Africa needs an addition of  5.8million New Teachers by 2030 to address the unprecedented demographic transition.

This no doubt this may be a confirmation of the statement of the former British High Commission to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, who in an event stated that ‘ the current birth rate of five (5) to seven (7) children per woman could lead to more out of school child and the competition for scarce resources’.

This is undeniably a potential threat to national peace and security, if no drastic and strategic actions are taken.

The daunting questions are, can investment in quality education and leadership play great roles in repositioning the continent? What are the African leaders current positions and strategies towards addressing these daunting challenging through quality investment in education to ensure sustainable developed continent?

Indeed there is urgent need for us to focus on impact investment in education that will stimulate creativity, innovation and patriotism capable of propelling life-long learn, empowerment and independence for sustainable human and economic development.

Therefore, as Nigeria, Gabon some other African countries prepare for elections. It is our wish that the new Africa starts from them.

Precisely to Nigerians we cannot play games with this decisive election, the 2023 general election. So let patriotism, development, unity and peace of our great country, Nigeria be our priority for

“Greater nation and continent is our collective responsibility’

Remember ‘We cannot ignore our education sector today and expect a youth restive and crime free society, or a developed Nigeria or Africa tomorrow’.

“Greater society is our collective responsibility’

YuYu-Uche Okorie
Management Consultant & Educator

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