The United Nations Children’s Fund has said Nigeria youths deserve an education system with good learning outcomes where a nine- year-old with basic education can read, write and have excellent numeracy skills.

UNICEF’s Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, spoke at the Naija Youth Talk organised by the organisation in collaboration with the Department for International Development (DFID) to mark the 2019 International Literacy Day in Abuja. The programme had “The Nigeria we want” as its theme. Hawkins called for a functional educational system to help Nigerian youths to achieve their goals. He said Nigeria needed to address the challenges of education in the country with more than 64 million population of youth within the age bracket of 15-35.

Represented by UNICEF’s Chief of Education, Euphrates Efosie, he said many children in Nigeria, including young people were being left behind, especially in education. Hawkins said: “Young people today live in a world of unlimited potential. However, despite gains in the situation facing Nigerian children and young people in recent years, much remains to be done. “Too many Nigerian children and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education. Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out-of-school children. More than 10.5 million Nigerian children are not in school. “In the education sector, which is the focus of today’s brainstorming, our young people want an education system with good learning outcomes, where a child with nine years of basic education could read and write. “Young people want an education that is functional, equipping them with skills to compete in the highly technical global market place.”

Founder, Slum2School Africa, Otto Orondam, said it was important for good educational policies, learning materials and skills programmes to be introduced to the school curriculum right from the basic education. He said there was need for an educational system that would prepare the young ones to have a choice of dream to live a fulfilled life. “It is high time we created a vision for ourselves. It is only when we have vision that we can unite together,” he added.

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