According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), 75% of Nigerian children between the ages of seven and 14 are unable to read a single phrase or perform fundamental mathematical operations.
This was stated in a statement on Tuesday to commemorate the 2023 International Day of Education by Cristian Munduate, a UNICEF Nigeria official.
“In Nigeria, 75 per cent of children aged 7 to 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic math problem. For children to be able to read to learn, they must be able to learn to read in the first three years of schooling,” the statement reads.
President Muhammadu Buhari was urged by UNICEF to pay closer attention to the education sector in order to embrace the year's theme, "Invest in People, Prioritize Education."
Additionally, UNICEF provided a list of ways it will help the nation's educational access.
“Reduce the number of out-of-school children by providing safe, secure and violence-free learning environments both in formal and non-formal settings, engaging communities on the importance of education and providing cash transfers to households and schools,” the statement adds.
“Improve learning outcomes by expanding access to quality early childhood education, scaling foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, and offering digital skills and, life and employability skills to adolescents to enable the school-to-work transition.
“Increase domestic spending on education to meet the 20% global benchmark by 2030 and to address the infrastructure and teaching backlog that are affecting all children’s access to inclusive and quality education.”
The organisation also advised presidential candidates in the country to prioritise investment in education in their action plans.
“As Nigeria’s presidential elections draw near, on behalf of UNICEF and the children in Nigeria, I call on all presidential candidates to include adequate investments in education as a top priority in their manifestos,” the organisation added.