The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and its partners have called for a functional educational system to help Nigerian youths achieve their goals.
They also drew the attention of the government on the need to create the right vision that would unite us together as a Nation.
They made this known in Abuja on Monday at the first edition of the Naija Youth Talk organised by UNICEF with the theme “The Nigeria we Want”.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, said with more than 64 million populations of youth within the age bracket of 15 years 35 years, there was need to address the challenges of education in the country.
Hawkins, who was represented by Mrs Euphrates Efosie, Chief of Basic Education, UNICEF, said the youth population was a key ingredient of national development, a bridge and transition to a prosperous future if properly harnessed.
“Young people today live in a world of unlimited potential. However, in spite of gains in the situation facing Nigerian children and young people in recent years, much remain to be done.
“Too many Nigerians and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education.
“In the education sector, which is the focus of today’s brainstorming, our young people want an education system with good learning outcomes, where a child with nine years of basic education could read and write.
“Young people want an education that is functional, equipping them with skills to compete in the highly technical global market place,” he said.
He, however, said that the organisation and its partners would sustain the collaboration to build the momentum of young people especially as it commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Meanwhile, Mr Femi Adeshina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, challenged Nigerian youths to always love the country in spite of all odds, saying that in “loving the country lies our unity”.
“Nigeria in her present state may be unlovable, but remember it is our country. We must get to a point where we will say Nigeria with all your fault, we love you.
“A lot of Nigerians are happy when Nigeria does not work not knowing we are losing a lot. When Nigeria works, it works for us.
“The young people have a stake in the future of this country. We must play a role in loving the unlovable. Nigeria has many fault lines- religion, ethnicity, language, nepotism, fake news.
“But in spite of all these, we must keep loving Nigeria.”
He, therefore, called on the youths to desist from sharing fake news in order not to undermine the nation.
Also, Mr Otto Orondaam, Founder, Slum2School Africa called for good educational policies, provision of learning materials and ensuring skills programmes were introduced to the curriculum right from the basic education.
He said there was need for an educational system that would prepare the young ones to have a choice of dream to live a fulfilled life.
“It is high time we create a vision for ourselves. It is only when we have vision that we can unite together.”
Mr Musa Musa, Programme Assistant, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, demanded a country regardless of persons living with disabilities to attain the highest height.
“We want a Nigeria where disability will not be seen as an identity but recognition.
“We want to see persons living with disabilities to live a better life and go to school as well as inclusive education.
“We want a Nigeria where we will have free access to lecture hall, event centres and also where disability people can be the president of our country.”
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Naija Youth Talk was organised in commemoration of the International Literacy Day declared every Sept. 8 by UNESCO on Oct. 26, 1966 at the 14th session of its General Conference.
It was celebrated for the first time in 1967 to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.