Nigeria must invest in teachers to achieve SDGs – UNICEF

…As Buhari increases teachers’ retirement age

The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), has reiterated the need for more investments in teachers, both in time and financial resources, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 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’, which was held yesterday, in Kano.

The 2-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.

“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% of the children in school are not achieving basic foundational skills”, she said.

She added that 27% 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.

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.

Mrs. Ahmed 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.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law, a Bill that increases the retirement age of teachers in public schools from 60 to 65.

This was disclosed by presidential aide, Garba Shehu, in two statements yesterday. Shehu said the Bill was one of six signed into law by the president yesterday.

Another Bill signed was one that “establishes and provides a legal framework for the Nigeria Police Academy, Wudil, Kano State, as a degree-awarding institution, to provide academic and professional training”.

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