11 million children out of school in northeast Nigeria

More than 11 million children are out of school in northeast Nigeria due to the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, report says.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown released the figure and said he had started meeting with Nigeria’s acting President Yemi Osinbajo with a view to finding a solution.

Mr Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, said his commission was already intervening in the situation.

Many abductions

“We think there are probably around 11 million children that are not in school. We know that the Boko Haram attacks remained a huge problem and the terrain too.

“These have prevented girls, particularly, from going to school and we know that there have been many abductions," Mr Brown said.

A statement by the Nigeria Foreign Affairs Office said the UN envoy, who chairs the Commission on Financing Education Opportunity, explained that the agency was giving more funds to support the Nigerian education system.

Mr Brown said the commission and Prof Osinbajo were already discussing how to secure global funds to address the education challenges confronting northeast Nigeria.

The leaders of the G20 Summit

Former British Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The former premier explained that his commission wanted every child to be safe at school, adding there was a new proposal to attract resources to fund the project.

The UN education envoy lauded the $30 million Nigeria’s Safe Schools Initiative, launched in April 2014, describing it as a novel idea.

“We want every girl to be safe when they go to school.

Other countries

“The Safe Schools Initiative is designed to help fortify the schools and also help the telecommunications between the schools and prevent the attacks.

“So the Safe School Initiative has been something that other countries adopted since Nigeria led the way."

Mr Brown said the International Finance Facility for Education could make it possible to fully fund universal education by 2020 and unlock Sustainable Development Goals.

The global education envoy commended the UN and the international donors for efforts to raise education aid to low-income countries from current $1.6 billion to over $4 billion a year by 2020.

Maternal mortality

This up-front investment in education, modelled on the proposals of Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, to convert billions into trillions.

“It can ensure the delivery of our Sustainable Development Goal promises. Indeed, an International Finance Facility for Education will not only create more educational opportunity than ever before.

“It will multiply job prospects, slow population growth, reduce infant and maternal mortality and hasten a 70 per cent increase in GDP per head by 2050,” Mr Brown said.

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