Protocols Ladies and gentlemen, today marks another mile stone in the life of education campaign and advocacy in Nigeria. I am most delighted to welcome you to this year Global Action Week for Education with the theme: Accountability for the SDG 4 through Citizen participation: Keeping your promises.  The Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for all wishes to express her gratitude to the Executive Secretary Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, Universal Basic Education and the Hon Minister of Education ministry of Education for the continued partnership we have enjoyed with them over the years on education discuss and inputs and all our partners for finding time to be part of the 2018 global action week for education.

Global Action week for education is one of the major focal points for the education movement. Created and led by the Global Campaign for Education, it provides everyone campaigning fro the right to education with an opportunity to make targeted efforts to achieve change on the ground, with added support of millions of members of the public worldwide joining together for the same cause.

After the global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) Financing conference at the start of 2018, where Nigeria and other developing countries governments, donor countries and various partners pledged to increase funds to education, it is now time for government to prove they are actually working towards financing public, equitable, inclusive and free education- it is time to act. That is why we are calling on the Nigerian government at the states and national level to “Keep your Promises” -Pledges made towards funding SDGs 4 should be judiciously implemented and effectively, ensuring that children and adults can receive quality public education.

Education is fundamental to realization of other rights, government must deliver on this goal and citizens must play their part in holding government to account for it. In 2015, we asked government to commit to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for everyone to have the right to free quality education. In 2016 we also asked government to look inward in the financing of the SDGS, Gladly, in Nigeria, citizens took it upon themselves and began the implementation processes through the mobilization of youths’ groups and CSOs to sensitize the general public on the SDGs especially Goal 4/ 5 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (The Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) was adopted by the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2016 to provide the framework that links education to the human resource needs of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs, as well as national development goals.. In 2017, we called on government to deliver on the SDGs and they equally made promises especially on financing education and working closely with Civil Society organizations.   We know that the federal government is committed to the SDGs, this is evident especially in the creation of the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the president on the SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs). At the ministry of education, the education 2030 is domicile as a unit or department in the ministry, the Minister has also set up the Ministerial Strategic Plan 2016 to 2019 and has mainstreamed the SDGs 4 target and indicators in the plan. The SDGs covers every aspect of our social, political and economic lives and the SDG4 underpins them all.

To fully achieve the 17 goals, proper attention must be paid to goal 4. And you will very much agree with me that, no matter how much efforts we place on the other goals without getting goal 4 right, we will not have achieved anything We cannot lose momentum, we need sustained and active citizens participation to hold government to account for the goals and that is why, this year 2018 Global Action Week for Education is asking government and citizens alike to “Keep Your Promises” for education. Nigeria government has signed in to the global commitment of ensuring 12 years free, quality, Compulsory and inclusive education for all by 2030. This commitment cannot be achieved when we don’t have

  1. Adequate Infrastructures in schools for learning especially at the basic and secondary education level,
  2. When teachers are not adequate in schools, we still have schools in Nigeria where the ratio of teachers to pupils is 1 teacher to 120 students.
  3. Despite the commitment made at the GPE replenishment meeting in Dakar early this year, education is poorly funded. In the 2018 budget only 7% of the national budget is allocated for education as against the recommended at least 20% of the national budget by GCE and UNESCO.
  4. States refusing to access the Universal Basic Education Fund with over 78 billion naira laying follow in the Central Bank
  5. Students and pupils still trek long distances to schools and feel very insecure going to school with the attendant attacks on schools and school girls
  6. The NGO regulatory bill is still at the National Assembly, this bill we believe is to shrink the activities of CSOs and citizens to fully participate in holding government accountable to keeping their promises especially in achieving the SDGs.

It becomes very important for government to develop

  1. Strengthened public systems, states and local institutions to monitor and ensure that education is free, quality and equitable and reject turning towards low fee/affordable price schooling as an answer to the education crisis in the country.
  2. Develop credible road maps for the implementation of the SDG4 agenda with clear mechanism for transparency, allowing for active meaningful participation of Civil Society participation.
  3. Review the Universal Basic Education act to accommodate 12 years compulsory free, quality and inclusive education.
  4. Government to earnestly begin the implementation of the recommendation of the Presidential retreat on education held at the Presidential Villa on 13th of November, 2017. Which among others recommended that a State of Emergency should be declared on education, Budget allocation on education should be increased to 15% of the countries annual budget, implementation of the Ministerial Strategic Plans 2016 to 2019 and making the approach to UBEC funding by states friendlier etc.

We also ask that the private sector should:

  • Transparently pay all taxes as required by the government of the federal republic of Nigeria where they make a profit, refuse to accept tax holidays/incentives, transfer pricing, aggressive tax avoidance and the use of tax havens, all of these can deprive the federal governments of funds to invest in education.
  • Continue to make financial contributions to the Global Partnership for Education to support education marginalized.

I hope that at this stakeholders meeting, we will renew our commitments to the SDG4 and come up with modalities that will guide us in to keeping our promises. Though government has a great role to play, every one is a stakeholder in ensuring the success of the goal 4 and as such, you must keep your individual and collective promises.   Thank you