Child Labour
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Out Of School Children: Nigeria Among 10 Countries Globally, Says Education International

August 03 / 2016

EDUCATION International, EL, world federation of teachers, has said Nigeria is one of the 10 countries in the world accounting for the majority of children deprived of access to education. EL called for a concerted action by Nigerian Government, with regional cooperation and the support of United Nations, UN, agencies and the international community to make education for all a reality in all parts of Nigeria. Presenting a report to the Committee on the Application of Standards, at the just concluded 105 International Labour Conference, ILC, in Geneva, Switzerland, during a debate on continuous breach of International Labour Organisation, ILO, Convention 138, which deals with the worst forms of child labour, an official of EL, Mr Wilson Sossion, decried the negative impact of insurgency on education in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Mr. Sossion who is also an official of Kenya’s National Union of Teachers, NUT, told members of the committee that EL represents over 30 million teachers and education support personnel, including hundreds of thousands in Nigeria. According to him: “The issue of child labour is clearly connected with the provision of quality public education for all children and in all parts of the world. Nigeria is one of the ten countries in the world accounting for the majority of children deprived of access to education. This situation has been prevailing for years, but in addition, since 2009, the attacks by Boko Haram in the states of Borno, Yobe, and Kano have left nearly one million children with no access to a classroom. In April of this year, the NGO Human Rights Watch issued a report entitled “They Set the Classrooms on Fire”. Education International works closely with Human Rights Watch on the issue of attacks on education. Their report shows that between 2009 and 2015, Boko Haram’s attacks destroyed more than 910 schools and forced at least 1,500 more schools to close. “At least 611 teachers have been deliberately killed. Thousands more students and teachers have been injured, some in deadly suicide bombs in the same period. The insurgent group has abducted more than 2,000 civilians, many of them women and girls, including large groups of students. You will all remember the widely publicised abduction of the 276 Chibok girls. “As Nigerian security forces expanded military operations against Boko Haram, the insurgents became more brutal, deliberately targeting and killing teachers, school administrators, and education officials. The group also attacked students to keep them out of school and forcibly recruited children into Boko Haram’s ranks. Its fighters abducted female students as “wives”, effectively for sexual slavery. “As security tightened, Boko Haram adopted suicide bombings as a tactic at schools and other locations, killing increasing numbers of children and school staff. The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, in Nigeria has collected reports from teachers and school staff in Borno and Yobe that insurgents intimidate and harass them. Public school teachers were the initial targets of threats for being government workers and teachers in Western-style schools. Continuing he said: “Insurgents sometimes go into mosques to preach against teachers, urging parents to withdraw their children from school. After prayers, they search the towns for teachers whom they either kill or abduct. Female teachers and students are particularly targeted. 19,000 teachers have been displaced. This situation leaves whole communities without any opportunity to become literate and have decent work opportunities. In addition to the situation pertaining to the worst forms of child labour like child soldiers and sex slavery, millions of children have no other future than to work as from an early age. “The weakness of labour inspection is another issue that needs to be comprehensively addressed given child labour strives when law and practices are not supervised and sanctions meted out when infractions to the rule occur. Education International calls for a concerted action by the Government of Nigeria, with regional cooperation and the support of UN agencies and the international community to make education for all a reality in all parts of Nigeria as a way to eradicate child labour.”


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