By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The UN Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and other stakeholders have called for a functional educational system to help Nigerian youths achieve their dreams.
They also drew the attention of the Federal Government to the need to create the right vision and environment that would unite us as a nation.
They made this call in Abuja on Monday at the maiden edition of the Naija Youth Talk organised by UNICEF with the theme: “The Nigeria we Want”.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, said there was need to address the challenges of education in the country, with more than 64 million population of youth within the age bracket of 15-35.
Hawkins, represented by Chief of Basic Education, UNICEF, Mrs Euphrates Efosie, said the youth population was a key ingredient of national development, a bridge and transition to a prosperous future if properly harnessed.
“Young people today live in a world of unlimited potential. However, despite gains in the situation facing Nigerian children and young people in recent years, much remains to be done.
“Too many Nigerians and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education.
“In the education sector, which is the focus of today’s brainstorming, our young people wanted an education system with good learning outcomes, where a child with nine years of basic education could read and write.
“Young people want an education that is functional, equipping them with skills to compete in the highly technical global market place,” she said.
She, however, said that the organisation and its partners would sustain the collaboration to build the momentum of young people, especially as it commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Meanwhile, Mr Femi Adeshina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, challenged Nigerian Youths to always love the country despite all odds and experience, saying that in loving the country lies our unity.
“Nigeria in her present state maybe unlovable but remember it is our country. We must get to a point where we will say Nigeria with your entire fault, we love you.
“A lot of Nigerians are happy when Nigeria does not work not knowing we are losing a lot. When Nigeria works, it works for us.
“The young people have a stake in the future of this country. We must play a role in loving the unlovable.
“Nigeria has many fault lines – Religion, ethnicity, language, nepotism, fake news but despite all these, we must love Nigeria,” he said.
He, therefore, called on the youths to desist from sharing fake news because it has the effect of undermining the nation.
Also the Founder, Slum2School Africa, Mr Otto Orondaam, called for good educational policies and provision of learning materials that will ensure skills programmes were introduced to the curriculum right from the basic education.
He called for an educational system that would prepare the young ones to have a choice and dream to live a fulfilled life.
“It is high time we created a vision for ourselves. It is only when we have vision that we can unite together.”
The Programme Assistant, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Mr Musa Musa, called for a country where persons living with disabilities can attain the highest height.
“We want a Nigeria where disability will not be seen as an identity but recognition. We want to see persons living with disabilities to live a better life and go to school.
“We want a Nigeria where we will have free access to lecture hall, event centres and also where people with disabilities can be the president of our country.”
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Naija Youth Talk was organised in commemoration of the International Literacy Day declared every Sept. 8 by UNESCO, since October 26, 1966 at the 14th session of its General Conference.
It was celebrated for the first time in 1967 with the aim of highlighting the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.