Nigeria faces many challenges - but none of them can be solved without education. Today, more than ten million Nigerian Children are out of school; most of them are girls. This is a tragedy for girls, an enormous waste of human potential and a threat to the future of Nigeria." - Malala Yousafzai, July 19, 2017
Two new features marked the 62nd National Council on Education (NCE) which met in Kano city, the Kano state capital, between 24th – 28th, July 2017. The two new features were -
1) the presence of a 30 strong contingent of female students studying civics from government senior secondary schools in Kano state;
2) Poster and handbill display and distribution of the statement of concern by Malala Yousafzai on the condition of the education system in Nigeria.
Malala's statement above, turned out to be a main feature of the NGO display corner organized by the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC). The dRPC is a Kano based NGO which supports the work of the Malala Fund and has endorsed Malala's most current statement on the education sector crisis in Nigeria.
The dRPC brought together three sister NGOs working on girls education - Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (IWEI); Center for Girls Education (CGE); and Girl Child Concern (GCC) to share the NGO space at the 62nd NCE meeting. The National Council on Education is the highest decision making body in Nigeria with legal authority to make education policy from early grade to tertiary education. The NCE meets annually in different locations throughout the Federation.
Kano state government, the host of the 62 NCE and dRPC's partner on girls' education programs, approved the NGO exhibition stand. At the stand the dRPC showcased hundred of copies of national education policies; studies on girls' education; research reports; end of project evaluation studies on girls education and child marriage in Nigeria. In addition, the dRPC also showcased the full statement of the 20-year-old Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, which she gave during her visit to Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo decrying the state of Education in the Country and the need for a state of Emergency in the Sector.
In addition to the hundred of copies of dRPC's documents, numerous copies of the Malala's statement were printed and distributed to NCE participants including - Permanent Secretaries from the Ministries of Education from states in North and South of the country; Directors and Deputy Directors from Ministries of Education in Kano, Enugu, Lagos, Kebbi, Delta states; Directors and Deputy Directors from SUBEB, UBEC, TETFund, NERDC; and Research Fellows from National Mathematical Centre. The dRPC's idea of popularizing Malala's message and calling education stakeholders to act seemed to have paid off as most participants commended Malala's commitment to Nigeria. Some said that he statement came at the right time.
The weeklong event had saw over 2,000 education stakeholders assembled to debate and discuss the problems of education in the nation. At the end of the meeting new policy directions in the country were approved. The Review of the Secondary School Entrepreneurial Curriculum was given an executive approval; the Policy for Guidance and Counseling and History to be taught as individual subjects at the basic level were also approved. Approval of the Entrepreneurial Curriculum was a particularly significant big win for the dRPC given the Center's partnership with the NERDC to update and review the curriculum with funding from MacArthur PSIPSE program. The weeklong event also saw full participation of the schoolgirls who listened and learned about education policy making in Nigeria.
62ND NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATION MEETING IN KANO STATE, NIGERIA