Story from Najib SANI, Bauchi
The Civil Society Action Coalition On Education For All, (CSACEFA), a Non Governmental Organisation has appealed to the national assembly to amend laws on education in the ongoing constitutional review processes to make education compulsory from primary to senior secondary school.
Outgoing Bauchi State coordinator of the NGO, Ezekiel Sukumun, made the appeal while making his contribution in the ongoing public hearing on constitution review.
According to him, primary and secondary education should be concentrated in exclusive list to allow the Federal Government to provide compulsory, free, basic 12 years universal primary and secondary education for every boy and girl in Nigeria.
He lamented that the present Nigerian constitution despite recognising education as a fundamental right of every citizen has not done much in ensuring the preservation of that right.
“The constitution in its provision on education has created a lacuna that is easily maneuvered and interpreted according to the disposition of the executive government officials.
“For instance, section 18 sub-section (3) of the Nigerian constitution reads: “Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy; and to this end, government shall as and when practicable provide (a) free, compulsory and universal primary education; (b) free secondary education; (c) free university education; and (d) free adult literacy programme.
“The operational statement “When practicable” as highlighted, is suffocating the provision of education for all Nigerians, especially for the marginalised Girls, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Women and Persons with disability. Education is a right and not an option for citizens.
“The phrase “When practicable” is also a hindrance to the enforcement of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act 2004 as states governments and stakeholders are not paying attention to the provision of the UBE Act, especially accessing the Universal Basic Education Funds, monitoring pupils enrolment and attendance in primary and secondary schools.
“When practicable” when practicable for parents and caregivers has only resulted to parents withdrawing their children from school and the result is increasing number of out- of -school children”. He pointed out.
The group stressed that 12 years primary and secondary school education must be made compulsory in the constitution and duty bearers should comply fully.