The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) with support from Malala Fund has called on the Kaduna State Government to do more on compulsory basic education in the state, especially on the need to enrol and retain girls in school up to junior secondary school III.
The project also called on Kaduna education drivers to implement the ban on street hawking to the letter by way of taking school-age children off the back and major streets to squarely reduce the challenge of alarming out-of-school children in the state.
The ‘right’ to education is enshrined in section 18 of Nigeria’s Constitution 1999 and it is contained in section 18 (1): The provision enjoins the government to direct its policy towards ensuring there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels.
Section 15(1) of the UBEC act states, “Every child has the right to free compulsory and universal basic education and it shall be the duty of the government in Nigeria to provide such education”.
Speaking at a one-day meeting with Journalists on promoting basic education rights in the State, LEDAP Program Director, Pamela Okoroigwe who spoke through the Coordinator of LEDAP in Kaduna, Michael Aboh noted that despite what the state government was currently doing in the education sector in the state, there is need to do more in the areas of enrolment and retainment of Kaduna children in primary and junior secondary schools.
For example, LEDAP reckoned that the Kaduna State Government banned hawking as a measure of getting children of school age off the streets and charged the Education Marshals with the mandate of reducing truancy.
“Regardless, we cannot but urge the government to take further steps to evaluate the effectiveness of these volunteer marshals, strengthen their mandate to discharge their duties, and most importantly implement the basic provisions of the UBE Act and eradicate all forms of hidden fees demanded by schools in the state.
“This will not only mitigate high school dropout rates, but also will, in the long run, advance the development indices of the State, and sustain the gains made by both the State and development partners such as LEDAP and Malala Fund.
“As part of LEDAP’s efforts to bridge the yawning gap in access to education, particularly in Northern Nigeria LEDAP with the support of Malala Fund has since 2018 been advocating for the implementation of the Universal Basic Education Act 2004 and increased access to free quality, safe basic education for children in 4 Northern states who constitute the over 13.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria.
“In recognition of the barriers to education in Nigeria, ranging from but not limited to poor implementation of education laws, such as the UBE Act, insecurity and conflict situations, socio-cultural and religious dispositions, and funding challenges, LEDAP has since flagging of its awareness campaign on free and safe basic education supported governments efforts in its project states to develop guidelines for the implementation of the UBE Act and state-level laws where applicable.
“LEDAP also applauded Kaduna State Government for investing in key education reforms which have yielded tremendous benefits, most significantly, in the area of infrastructural development in public schools, and not to mention, actions aimed at improving learning outcomes.
“It however stressed the need for the government to do more to increase enrollment and retention of children in schools, especially for girls”, Pamela said.