Human Development Initiatives, HDI has called on the Lagos State Government and the State’s House of Assembly to make public education policies sensitive o the rights of girls and marginalized children with the purpose of eliminating barriers to accessing public education.
HDI made the call in a press statement signed by the Executive Director, Olufunso Owasanoye in commemoration of the 2020 Global Action Week on Education with the theme – ‘10 years left to 2030: Civil Society’s Solutions, Recommendations and Plans of Action to Reach SDG4’.
Owasanoye explained that despite Nigeria’s signatory to the SDGs five years ago, many children, especially poor, vulnerable and marginalised children including children with disabilities do not have access to public education, which could hinder the attainment of SDG4.
She commended the efforts of the Lagos State government for putting in place innovative and laudable measures to provide children the opportunity to continuous learning during the lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said, “happily, in your recent actions to prioritised education in the Lagos State budget; your efforts to introduce e-learning into the public education sector; your prompt response to the pandemic particularly by activating the domestic and sexual violence hotlines in Lagos State; the radio platforms to encourage learning for children while staying at home among other steps you have taken, give us some hope that you will keep to these commitments.
“However, despite these efforts, it is important to note that many children, especially poor, vulnerable and marginalised children including children with disabilities are still being excluded from these initiatives in Lagos; more needs to be done to bring them in.
“While we sincerely commend these efforts, Human Development Initiatives Nigeria, ActionAid Nigeria and other global coalition for education use this opportunity to urge the Lagos State Government to reflect on the gaps in the public education sector that this global pandemic has revealed and take advantage of the lessons from the current challenges to progressively invest more in the sector in a way that can enable all children to continue their education under similar circumstance in Lagos State.”
The HDI ED added that the Lagos State government and the State’s House of assembly need to “Take action to progressively increase the size of the Lagos State budget by raising fair tax and increase the share of the funds allocated to and spent on free, quality, equitable, and inclusive public education.
“Make public education policies, systems and expenditure more sensitive to the rights of girls and marginalized children”, she added.
Regarding inclusive education, the organization demanded that the government should, “Open-up education budget and expenditure to effective public participation from the initiation stage to promote the inclusive education policy of the State.
“Make school infrastructure more user friendly for people with disabilities and train all our teachers and school administrators to be able to handle inclusive schools.
“Equip our schools with needed support systems to aid inclusive learning including a more robust teachers’ welfare that can attract the best brains into the noble profession especially at the basic level.”
HDI also called on other relevant “Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders to add their voices to these demands for free, equitable, quality and inclusive public education in Lagos State.”