Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Sustainable Development Goals, SSAP-SDGs has appealed to all stakeholders to increase investments in inclusive education, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Presidential Adviser who said this in a statement she issued to mark the May, 27, 2020 Children’s Day noted that the disparity in access to education even with the forced closure of schools across the country from homes has brought the need for all stakeholders to work inclusive and equitable education for all children without regard to their socio-economic background to the fore.
Princess Orelope-Adefulire however praised the innovative way the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has sustained the school feeding program in a bid to give succour to the underprivileged pupils, who may have been worse hit by the consequences of the COVID-18 pandemic
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She also commended the Federal Ministry of Education for launching subscription free portal to enable students in primary and secondary levels access educational materials even while at home as well as for the initiation of collaboration with network providers to grant the students free access to the portals on their mobile phones.
Princess Orelope-Adefulire noted that while some children from privileged background have been able to continue their education from home after the closure of their schools, the situation is different for pupils from less fortunate homes all over the country.
“This disparity must be addressed not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as part of measures to reduce the ever increasing disparity in the quality of education available to children in the country.
“While some Federal and State Governments are putting in places structures to ensure that children are able to learn from home, more still needed to be done to make this a reality for many of our children in the rural areas,” the presidential aide said.
She also noted that there are fears that some of the children, especially, the girls, may not return when schools reopen, a situation, which, she noted will be a great setback to efforts to achieve SDGs in Nigeria.
Princess Adefulire noted that the girl-child which is already disadvantaged in terms of access to education may be even more affected. She therefore challenged all stakeholders, especially at the local and community levels to take up the advocacy of ensuring that COVID-19 will not result in exit of pupils from the educational system.