By Sunnews Times Editor.
The new school year started this month of September, unfortunately, over one million Nigerian school children cannot not return to classes due to insecurity that has besieged their state and school locations.
These ones are being cut off from education and other vital benefits schools provide for the growth of children. Families and communities in some insecurity-prone areas of the country have remained fearful of sending their children back to their classrooms due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions which has been on over the last several months.
“A child’s first day of school should be an exciting event for parents and children, it should be a landmark moment in the lives of the young ones because it signals new learning and new friends that will impact the future of the children. Unfortunately, this moment is being stolen from around a million Nigerian children this year, as insecurity threatens their safety and education, Peter Hawkins, a UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, decried.
He described as unacceptable a situation where communities that should have sent their children to school are expressing fear and worry over the safety of the place called school.
“It is unacceptable that children need to fear returning to their friends and classrooms – and that parents are afraid that if they send their children to school, they may never return. This insecurity must end so that children can return to their normal lives and benefit from all the important things being in school brings to them”, Harkins further decried.
UNICEF and partners around the world are joining hand to protest the children’s inability to access the classroom due to COVID-19 restrictions or other challenges, with social media platforms ‘frozen’ to draw attention to how many children are at risk of missing out on an education.
The organization estimates that a return to school has been delayed for an estimated 140 million children globally due to COVID-19.
For an estimated eight million of these students, the wait for their first day of in-person learning has been over a year and counting, as they live in places where schools have been closed throughout the pandemic.
In Nigeria, education was delayed for many children due to COVID-19 restrictions during 2020, along with additional challenge of school closures due to prevailing insecurity across the country
So far this year, there have been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria, with 1,436 children abducted and 16 children dead. More than 200 children are still missing.
“The first day of school is a landmark moment in a child’s life—setting them off on a life-changing path of personal learning and growth. Most of us can remember the excitement of returning to school, and the joy of meeting our teachers and fellow students again.
But for so many Nigerian children whose education already suffered during COVID-19 lockdowns, that important day has been indefinitely postponed – and for many children still missing, it is unclear when they will ever come back home or enter a classroom again,” said Peter Hawkins. END