According to the United Nations Students’s Fund (UNICEF), a total of 11,536 schools in Nigeria have been shuttered since December 2020 owing to abductions and security concerns, affecting the education of about 1.3 million children in the 2020/21 academic year.
According to a statement signed by UNICEF Communication Specialist Mr Samuel Kaalu, this disruption in learning contributed to gaps in children’s knowledge and skills and may result in a loss of approximately $3.4 billion in these children’s lifetime earnings, perpetuating cycles of poverty and inequality.
According to the statement, UNICEF is partnering with the government of Nigeria to preserve children’s right to school in a safe and inclusive learning environment, thanks to generous donor contributions.
It said that the initiative entails developing community resilience and building the competence of school-based management committees (SBMCs) on school safety and security.
UNICEF also urged Nigerian authorities to provide schools safe and secure learning environments for all children, particularly females, in order to boost enrolment, retention, and completion of education.
The first known attack on a learning institution in Nigeria occurred on 14 April 2014, when 276 students at Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, were abducted by Boko Haram members, according to the statement, adding that since then, there has been a spate of attacks on schools and student abductions, sometimes resulting in deaths.
It went on to say that the instances have become more common in the previous two years, particularly in the country’s north-west and north-central areas.
“Since December 2020, 1,436 schoolchildren and 17 teachers have been taken from schools, and 16 schoolchildren have died,” the report said.