Children’s Day: Orelope-Adefulire Tasks Stakeholders on Inclusive Education

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has called on all stakeholders to work together to make education more inclusive as a way of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on education of children from disadvantaged homes.

The presidential aide who said this in a statement she issued to mark the 2021 Children’s Day noted that various reports all over the world had indicated that the closures during the lockdown measures implemented to control the pandemic worsen the plight of children from disadvantaged background in term of access to quality education.

In a statement issued by Rotimi Ajayi, Head Communications, OSSAP-SDGs, said the Federal Government of Nigeria has declared the theme for the years’ Children’s Day celebration as “Unite to reverse the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Children.”

Speaking against the background of the theme, Princess Orelope-Adefulire noted that children from privileged homes were generally able to continue their education because their schools are well-equipped with ICT infrastructure and their parents could provide similar resources for them to link up at home while the pandemic was at its peak in the country. But she noted that this was not the case with majority of students from disadvantaged background whose parents were not able to afford internet connectivity or whose homes may lack reliable power supply.

While noting that the digital divide has worsened disparities in terms of access to quality education among children, the presidential aide noted that it is also sad that some pupils will not return to school because they have either been married off or because the businesses of their parents have collapsed during the pandemic among other reasons.

“As the world gradually recovers from the heavy impacts of the COVID-19 and further surges into the decade of action for the actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals, this year’s Children’s should be a wake-up call to all stakeholders on the importance of education as the bedrock of the global goals of leaving no one behind.

“Our education system must become more inclusive. Stakeholders must work together to bridge this digital divide through provision of needed resources and collaborative action towards ensuring that the digital divide among our children which became so evident with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic are addressed. We must also work to ensure that all children are returned to the classrooms.

The Presidential Aide however commended President Muhammadu Buhari over recent inauguration of a steering committee for Alternate School Programme, noting that the initiative will help to reduce the huge number of out of school children in Nigeria.

She also congratulated Nigerian children on their day while pledging that the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of SDGs remains committed to their welfare and wellbeing.

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