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UNICEF: Nigeria must invest in teachers to achieve SDGs

The United Nations Children’s Fund has reiterated the need for more investments in teachers, both in time and financial resources, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

This was disclosed by the UNICEF’s Education Manager, Mrs Manar Ahmed at a presentation on ‘Scaling Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in Nigeria’ held in Kano on Friday.

The two-day Media Dialogue on SDGs was aimed at promoting, protecting, advocating and collaborating with stakeholders for the realisation of children’s rights in the country.

Ahmed said that tackling teachers’ training was not enough but also ensuring action plans for improving teaching and learning in the right environment.

According to her, Nigeria is not lacking the right policy but the country’s staggering learning crisis is one of the lowest globally.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, 87 per cent of children are in learning poverty as they do not have basic literacy by age 10.

“Goal four of the SDGs is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifelong learning and all children by age 10 must know how to read and solve numeracy.

“It is not that Nigeria lacks the right policy but Nigeria is facing a staggering crisis with learning outcomes being one of the lowest.

“So, 70 per cent of the children in school are not achieving basic foundational skills,” she said.

She added that 27 per cent of teaching staff in Nigeria was unqualified as qualified teachers were in short supply.

She also said there was a need to learn to read in order to read to learn to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

“We need to do more in the structural approach of learning, and community engagement in ensuring accountability.

“Structural approach is best for the training of teachers, so on-the-job training as well as creating the right environment is important,” she said.

She, therefore, commended the country for her role in making the huge changes since 2017 when the national assessment of learning outcomes was carried out.

She said more is needed to be done to achieve the 17 goals of the SDGs by 2030 as government allocation to education must be increased.

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