For the African child, good quality education is a luxury to come by. For many, they do not have the wherewithal to access it and for the ones who can manage to a certain level, they require the services of a sponsor to see that education dream fully come true.
This was the bane of LEAP Africa one-day roundtable meeting on the theme “Education for Sustainable Development.” It was organised last week in conjunction with the Citi Foundation.
The aim was Collaborating to Localize the Sustainable Development Goal 4 in Nigeria, which has been quite an issue in Nigeria.
According to the United Nations, “achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development”. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive and quality education can help equip citizens with the tools needed to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.
This has led to a growing international recognition of UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as an integral element of inclusive and quality education. ESD addresses key sustainable development issues in teaching and learning. This entails participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behavior and take action for sustainable development, consequently promoting critical thinking, problem solving and leadership in young people. ESD has the potential to equip and empower a nation to see to the achievement of sustainable development. Nigeria is currently working towards the integration of ESD into her educational system.
The meeting brought stakeholders from the Ministry of Education, Private sector and Development actors, who deliberated on how to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goal 4 in secondary schools across Lagos State.
The provision of inclusive and quality education cannot be borne by the government alone, the private sector is making substantial efforts towards bridging the gap in Nigerian’s educational sector. LEAP in partnership with Citi Foundation are two organizations contributing their own quota towards the integration of ESD into Nigerian’s educational system. This is being done in the following capacity: Teacher Training and Motivation, Curriculum Development (Leadership and Life Skills, Employability, Entrepreneurship, Active Citizenship), Career Guidance, Mentorship, Internship and the execution of change projects in their various communities.
An initiative to bring to the limelight is iLEAD (a flagship of Citi Foundation’s “Pathways to Progress” initiative) is a multi-dimensional programme through which LEAP engages teachers, school administrators and graduates to equip underserved youth in public secondary schools with leadership and life skills, employability and entrepreneurship skills. iLEAD is implemented across public secondary schools in Lagos and Abuja. It is sponsored by Citi Foundation to prepare Nigerian youth to thrive in today’s economy. The “Pathways to Progress” initiative by Citi Foundation supports programs like iLEAD that helps young people build an entrepreneurial mind-set, acquire leadership, financial and workplace skills, and begin to engage in the formal economy through various internship opportunities.
Kehinde Ayeni LEAP’s Manager, Corporate Communications and PR stressed the need for collaboration across board.
“It is important for us to all work together to achieve the SDG goals. Education is the bedrock of the lives of every individual. How can we localize the SDG goal 4 into Nigeria? Right now it is still far-fetched. What does education mean? People only understand a subset of it. This meeting is a way for us to see how other organisations can do this as groups, as CSR or philantrophy. Citizens, society must be involved,” she urged.