The Nigerian government has endorsed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on education to ensure all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education by 2030.
If the promises of the SDGs is to be realised, drastic and sustained action is needed to tackle the largest national out-of-school population in the world.
The Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) is advocating for the following policy changes and funding increases in order for the country to meet SDG 4:
1. Expand the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) mandate to include 12 years of free, safe and quality education, with special attention to target the most marginalised girls.
2. Remove hidden costs in education in line with the Universal Basic Education Act.
3. Allocate at least 20% of the national budget and 6% of GDP to education.
4. Adopt and enforce the Child Right Act to end early and forced marriage on a state level.
5. Create safe teaching and learning environments for girls, especially in the North East Zones.
If Nigeria were to give all girls a full 12 years of school, the outcomes would include:
a. Economic Growth: Increasing the number of women completing secondary school by 1% could increase the country’s economy by 0.3%. Return on education are substancially greater for women than men in Nigeria.
b. Improved Health: If all women in Nigeria completed their secondary education, the country would lower the mortality rate for children under five years old by 43%.
c. Knowledge of HIV: Infection among literate women is better than that of illiterate women.
d. Fewer Child Marriages: Learning reduces early marriages. If all girls in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia had primary education, child marriages would be reduced by 14%. If all girls had secondary education, child marriages would be reduced by 64%.