By Elizabeth Osayande
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has stated that the over 14 million out-of-school children may be added to the poverty group of the country if the education sector is not revamped and transformed.
Obasanjo said this as a guest at the recent graduation ceremony of the 2020 class of the Teach For Nigeria Fellowship held virtually.
While praising the works of the fellows in bridging the widening gap of learning opportunities of the most-privileged and the less-privileged, especially during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, explained that it was time the youths took leadership position in the country to change narratives in every sector.
He congratulated the graduating fellows and the leadership of Teach for Nigeria under the chairmanship of Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, and the Chief Executive Officer, Folawe Omikunle.
The former President noted that: “In Nigeria today, over 14 million children that should be in school are not in school and, thereby, deprived of education and opportunities that will allow them to develop their abilities and become useful to themselves and their communities.
“In short, they will be added to the poverty group. It is evident that at this point, to transform our education system in a sustainable way, Nigerian youths must take up leadership positions championing different innovative solutions at every level of the society and across different sectors.
“It is inspiring to see the work that Teach For Nigeria is doing to equip promising future leaders with the skills and experience to drive the change that we need.
“However, it is even more inspiring to witness the impact you have made in the last two years of your fellowship journey.”
Calling for a revamp of the education sector, Obasanjo reiterated that “more recently, the outbreak of the raging COVID-19 has put the world at its knees, as the whole world strives to develop a vaccine and successful treatments to fight this dreadful disease.
“So far, the damage in Africa has been moderate, but if we relax, the African continent could become the worst affected from the economic fallout of the crisis, and millions of Africans, including many youth, could be pushed into extreme poverty.”