By Elizabeth Adegbesan
The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, has said that the scaling up of girl-child education and women empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa will reduce generational illiteracy and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sanusi made this statement at a three-day Transforming Education Summit tagged ‘Transforming Education through Grassroots Innovation: A Localised Teacher-Led Approach’ on the sidelines of the on-going United Nations General Assembly in New York.
According to him, addressing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) four (education) and SDG five (gender) was the most effective route to addressing all the other SDGs.
He said: “I am often asked why I advocate for the girl child and my response is simple: if you educate the girl child, you deal with so many other socio-economic issues and make progress towards breaking the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
“I have had a lifetime commitment and advocacy to access quality education and gender equality.
“In my work as governor of the central bank, I pushed for gender representation at the highest levels, in the boards and management of the banks.
“And as Emir of Kano, I pushed for codification of putting law to address the Rights of Women.
“As an SDGs advocate, I have focused on girl child education in particular, as the main SDG that I’m focused on are SDG four and SDG five.”
Sanusi noted that there was a deficit of 69 million teachers globally adding, “many of those who are at work, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Africa, and Southern Asia, lacked basic qualifications and training to keep pace with changes in education.”
The ex-CBN Governor said that it had become imperative to emphasize the importance of quality teachers in curbing inequalities in learning outcomes, particularly in under-served regions.
He explained that his project, ‘His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II Sustainable Development Goals (HHMSII SDGs) Challenge, was to inspire and catalyse teacher-led grassroots innovation that supported the achievement of SDGs, particularly quality education and gender equality.
“Teachers are a powerful force. Each teacher will directly impact a minimum of 3,000 students in their career, and many more students indirectly.
“Therefore, there cannot be quality education if the teachers do not have the right competence and tools to impact students positively.
“Only by engaging and empowering teachers, particularly those closest to the problem, can we implement solutions that truly transform our education systems,” Sanusi said.
He mentioned that the programme had invited 35 teacher-led projects in its portfolio through its incubator and accelerator programmes while more than 2000 teachers have been engaged through its open e-learning platform, and impacted more than 30,000 students.