The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed on Thursday that a total of 11,536 schools were closed since December 2020 due to abductions and security issues in Nigeria.
It also noted that these school closures impacted the education of approximately 1.3 million children in the 2020/21 academic year.
In a statement, UNICEF said this interruption of their learning contributes to gaps in children’s knowledge and skills and may lead to the loss of approximately $3.4 billion in these children’s lifetime earnings. It said that this risks to further perpetuate cycles of poverty and inequality.
It urged Nigerian authorities to make schools safe and provide a secure learning environment for every child in Nigeria, especially for girls, to increase girls’ enrolment, retention, and completion of education.
UNIVEF representative in Nigeria Peter Hawkins said:
“In Katsina State, government and communities have fenced some schools, and this is encouraging girls to attend school, underscoring the reality that collaboration is required in addressing insecurity in schools and making schools safe, especially for girls.
“Unsafe schools, occasioned by attacks on schools and abduction of students, are reprehensible, a brutal violation of the rights of the victims to education, and totally unacceptable.
“Attacks on learning institutions render the learning environment insecure and discourage parents and caregivers from sending their wards to schools, while the learners themselves become fearful of the legitimate pursuit of learning.”