Mother and daughter holding hand together with love in vintage color tone

Mother and daughter holding hand together with love in vintage color tone

…To inclusive, equitable, quality education for African children

The International Day of the African Child is celebrated on the 16th of June, every year.  The annual celebration is in commemoration of the murder of hundreds of South African students who had come out to protest, demanding to be taught in their mother tongue on June 16 of 1971.

The day is usually commemorated to advocate for quality education for all children of African descent, despite the plethora of challenges bedeviling the continent. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges confronting children on the African continent while advocating for their rights and well-being.

While the right to education is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right for all children, the actualization of qualitative inclusive, and equitable education for all has not been actualized in the African region, particularly in Nigeria as a country. Education remains the bedrock of development in any society as it gives people the knowledge and skills, they require to sustain themselves, remain healthy, and engender resilience while also helping to build a sense of community and humanity. The actualization of qualitative, inclusive and equitable education remains the focus of SDG-4, wherein lifelong learning cum opportunities for all, are promoted.

On this special day, the Human Development Initiatives (HDI) Foundation a not-for-profit, non-governmental Organisation which envisions a society of empowered humans devoid of social and economic vulnerabilities, wishes to charge education stakeholder groups to strive towards collaborative efforts to successfully tackle the barriers precluding African children from accessing quality, inclusive and equitable education while also building a community of practice.

Africa indeed has come of age, thus, her education system needs to reflect the growth direction toward more qualitative, more inclusive, and equitable education.

Some of the major barriers to actualizing equitable inclusive and quality education include paucity of funds, decaying school infrastructure, the decline in moral values among children, inadequate teachers, insecurity, non-availability of inclusive facilities, topographical challenges, high rate of school dropouts and out-of-school children, socio-religious and ethnic biases, among other challenges.

To effectively empower African children and ensure their rights to education are not hampered by community-specific barriers, the contributions of all categories of stakeholders are needed. It is worthy of note that the plethora of barriers faced by African children in accessing education cannot be resolved by the government alone; this, therefore, calls for the participation and collaboration of all and sundry, including the government, the organised private sector, parents, guardians, traditional leaders, youth groups, community-based organizations and Civil Society Organisations. African parents have critical roles to play not only in ensuring their children and wards attend and complete school, but also in inculcating moral values into their children in the globalized world.

The year 2023 International Day of the African Child should remind us of the importance of prioritizing the development and welfare of African children through sustained efforts aimed and guaranteeing that children’s rights are protected while equal opportunities are provided for all children in Africa. This includes African children with or without disability, so as to help them attain their full potential.

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