Education Is More Than Reading & Writing – Uweru Benedicta

According to UNICEF, one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. In Nigeria, about 10.5 million children are not in school even though primary education is officially free and compulsory. In the north of the country, the picture is even bleaker, with a net attendance rate of 53 percent.

Benedicta at GDSS, Kalgo

This is enough to chew on already but I realized a different perspective recently.I am an advocate for education especially girl child education. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 addresses “Quality Education”. I am currently serving my country under the NYSC Scheme in Kebbi State & during our last Community Development Service (CDS) project where I facilitated, it became clear to me that the quality of education in the Nation especially in Northern Nigeria should be examined.

I spoke during the CDS project on Menstruation. I did my best to make the students comfortable and open enough to share about their experiences with their periods. It was an engaging session being well informed about teenagers’ short attention span. But something struck me, in that every girl who was supposed to come out to give their opinion during the Q&A sessions in front of their fellow students couldn’t speak boldly. They were very beautiful girls but timid. I was stunned as girl after girl, those who came up to the podium couldn’t speak and it got me wandering what is education anyways?!

Eweru Addressing Students

It is worthy of note that these girls are by virtue of being in school are exempted from the statistics of “out of school” girls but what is the quality of education they’re receiving.Education is MORE than just learning how to read and write, its the 21st century where skills and information that enable one fit into the world should be taught in schools. Skills like public speaking, mentoring, emotional intelligence etc should be inculcated in our curricula. How can one be in school and not be able to converse in front of the class, talk to your classmates?English is an official language in Nigeria, why should a school approved by the Government of Nigeria teach students in local languages? How do these students compete favourably with other students in other parts of the country and even the world?!The quality of education one exposes himself to influences how they relate with other people, quality of leadership and hence the fate of a Nation.

Some Nations have taken initiative to invest in the quality of their educational system so much so that it becomes a source revenue to the country thereby boasting their GDP.Education is what would make a youth resist being manipulated into causing communal clashes, education will stop youths from being used as election thugs to rig elections

. Education ought to transform the mind and put one in a disposition to reach out for more learning, education is lifelong learning.I hereby recommend a review of educational policies/curricula in Kebbi State and then Nigeria on the long run utilizing local and international (UNICEF & the likes) collaborations to enable students and graduates compete favourably. As a form of contribution to the prestigious Kebbi State of Nigeria, I can utilize my international network as a Young African Leader to fetch interested organizations and individuals to review the State’s educational curricula working with the Commissioner for Education of the State and his team.Community by community, state by state, we can build the Nigeria of our dreams. I believe in Nigeria.

Written by Pharmacist Benedicta Uweru.Benedicta Uweru is a Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree holder who is passionate about working with Non-Governmental Organizations. She was a ONE Champion (2017 & 2018) at ONE.org in Nigeria. She represented ONE in Nigeria & Africa at the ONEYouthSummit in Brussels where her presentation earned her a standing ovation from ONE CEO & President, Gayle Smith & other Youth Ambassadors across Europe. Her dream work place is the UN, she considers this a platform to impact her community better.

She is the Founder, Girls Health & Education Foundation (GHeF) where she enlightens girls to make informed decisions about their bodies, emphasizing the power of an educated girl. Her projects include “A Love Letter to Myself” & “Advocacy Against Teenage Pregnancy”. She continues to impact lives by volunteering with other organizations such as the medical outreach (May 2018) with the Moses Lake Medical Team (from the US) in Kebbi State, Nigeria.

She’s a 2019 WYSE ILP Brazil Alumni being the only Nigerian Delegate at a training that gathered 26 participants across 16 countries of the world in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Jan 6th to 17th 2019). She was a Chairperson at the just concluded Tanzania International Model UN Conference 2019 and continues to develop herself.

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