The United Nations, through a joint statement by UNESCO, UNICEF and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) has called on Nigeria’s government to place education at the centre of its peace-building processes.
The organisations stressed the urgent need to prioritise education as a catalyst for promoting human dignity, tolerance, and peace in the country, according to a statement commemorating the International Day of Education on January 24.
Abdourahamane Diallo,UNESCO Representative to Nigeria said education offers multiple opportunities to tackle hate speech and sensitise learners against it.
“While encouraging the government to prioritise education at the top of its political agenda, it should rally influencers and wider civil society to push forward the movement to bring education into the centre of peacebuilding at all levels.”
Meanwhile, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative Cristian Munduate commended Nigeria’s dedication to establishing secure school environments by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration and developing Minimum Standards for Safe Schools.
Despite these efforts, Munduate said “there is a need for progress,” as education remains inaccessible to many Nigerian children.
“We are reminded of the collective responsibility we share in safeguarding the educational environment for every child.
“Their educational journey is often disrupted by attacks on communities and schools, including the abduction of students; these challenges are acute for adolescent girls, potentially stalling progress made in girls’ education,” Munduate added.
The International Day of Education was established by the UN General Assembly on December 3, 2018, and later declared January 24 to celebrate the role of education in peace and global development.