The United Nations (UN) has bemoaned the incessant attacks on schools in Nigeria, leading to the killing and abduction of teachers and students.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon said this in a statement to mark this year’s International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
He said guaranteeing students and teachers protection before reopening schools, which were closed following the outbreak of COVID-19, would help restore their confidence.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator said 46 million primary and secondary learners across Nigeria were affected “due to pandemic-related school closures”, while calling for increased funding for education.
Kallon noted that prioritising safety in schools for teachers and students is an indication of the government’s commitment to protecting investments in the education sector and a validation of Nigeria’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration.
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He said: “As state governments plan to reopen schools after prolonged closures, building a resilient education system to withstand future shocks should be included in pandemic response plans.”
“Education is essential to helping crisis-affected communities in the North-east rebuild and recover. Attacks on schools are a direct attack on future generations. I call on all parties to the conflict to take all necessary measures to protect education and give learners a chance to build a brighter future,” Mr Kallon said.
“Schools must remain safe places, free of conflict and violence,”
“Our collective future as well as the achievements of all development goals depend on it. Safeguarding the right to education for all contributes to the achievement of sustainable development and nurtures the international community’s decades-long gains towards peace, economic prosperity, and social inclusion worldwide.’’
The organisation said government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic “is an opportunity to build a resilient education system, invest in human capital and strengthen communities who act as first responders in the event of attacks on schools”.