A young student in Kano state, northern Nigeria, has drawn a picture of school pupils being chased away by a member of the insurgent group, boko haram.
12-year-old Hauwa Hussaini, who drew the heart wrenching image said: “I feel sad, I feel really depressed while I draw this bad man, pursuing pupils out of classroom. To me, he is a member of boko haram and he hates education; he doesn’t want these children to stay in school.”
She explained that her friends’ travails in Borno inspired her drawing.
“I have friends that are indigenes of Lassa and Chibok in Borno and I know at a time; it was difficult for them to go to school every day like me. It feels sad, that is why I tried to think of what it looked like to them, and then I drew it because of the opportunity I had to show it to everybody,” Hauwa said.
Miss Hussaini, a Primary 5 Pupil of Race Course Model Primary School, Nasarawa Local Government Area (LGA) in Kano state, displayed that touching picture at an Art and Drawing workshop.
The opportunity was set up by the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board and UNICEF, to commemorate the maiden edition of the International Day of Education in Nigeria.
The piece of art work by Hauwa is called Threat to Education in Nigeria.
The author says it reflects the kind of world some children presently live in.
“In some villages in Borno State, boko haram people took some girls away and few others were able to run away. Most of my friends in Borno are afraid to still go to school because of the fear of the bad men.
“The incidents resulted into schools being closed down. I have been praying that the government of the state provides enough security for all the children in Borno to be able to go to school very well again,” she said.
Hauwa’s drawing revealed that persistent violence and armed conflict undermine human rights and often violate the right to education.
The art work reveals the dependence of education on peace in any environment for children’s right to learning.
Another pupil from Jamblo Special Primary School Gwale L.G.A of Kano State, Khadijah Yakubu , who drew a cooking pot on firewood, told me that her piece of drawing depicts air pollution, which often has an adverse effect on climate change.
“When people cook with firewood, the smoke affects their health and could result in deaths. In our house, that is what we use and it delays me from going to school. It makes tears drop from my eyes; the smoke also affects the sky, ” Miss Yakubu said.
12-year-old Muhammadu Hassan from Yakassai Model Primary School told me that in his class, they were about 53 pupils with minimal learning facilities.
Upon his return to school this year, they had increased in number, making the available learning facilities not sufficient for use.
Hassan, in his art work, drew a classroom with increased enrolment and insufficient learning facilities.
“We are many in my class. Now that most of us sit on the floor, heat disturbs us and our uniforms get dirty easily. This happens all the time because of the floor of our classroom,” Hassan said.
Reading between the lines of Miss Hussaini’s art work to Khadijah Yakubu’s Cooking pot on the firewood as well as the drawing on increased school enrolment, these pupils’ efforts show a focus on the central theme of ‘learning for people, planet, and peace.’
Hauwa, Khadijah and Muhammed were among the pupils from ten different primary schools who participated in an art/drawing workshop by Kano State Universal Basic Education Board and UNICEF.
International Day of Education.
‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace’, highlights the integrated nature of education, its humanistic targets, as well as its centrality to collective development ambitions of the people.
The Convention on the Rights of the child has important implications for the education of children.
Approved by the United Nations in 1989, the Convention is the most widely and most quickly ratified in world history.
By ratifying the Convention, countries commit themselves to the principle that children have fundamental rights as persons and that state authorities have obligations to provide for those rights.
Under the terms of the Convention, a legally binding treaty and states, have the obligation to make their laws, policies, and practices consistent with the provisions of the Convention.
Article 28, the first among the articles in the convention, is the child’s right to education on the basis of equal opportunity .
This includes the right to free primary education and to accessible secondary and higher education.
Second is the child’s rights in education, this includes the right to non-discrimination, participation, protection from abuse and violence, and freedom of thought, expression, and religion.
Nigeria ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991. The CRC sets out a basic, universal standard for a healthy, protected, decent childhood for every human being.
Since ratification, Nigeria passed the groundbreaking Child’s Rights Act in 2003 enshrining the rights of the CRC in national law. 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states have subsequently passed state-wide child rights laws.
While Nigeria is making progress in protecting children’s rights, for many children, these rights are not yet a reality.
The Chief of UNICEF in Kano State, Maulud Nwarfa, says decision makers should invest in children through education.
According to him, “Generally the young people should be given responsibilities and should be invested in for them to be part of decision making on issues that affect their future.
“Our message to parents here that they should also invest in education and not just to produce children that will only be on the streets but children that will take over responsibilities.
“Any state or country that ignores young children and education simply leads the community and the entire country into failure.”
“Prioritising visibility for children is critical. Young generations unborn: they have to be part of the decisions that will affect them globally,” he said.
Kano State Chairman of Basic Education Board, Dr Danlami Hayyo, also called on every child to demand for informal education, which he said is their right.
On his part, Muktar Ado Jubril, the Coordinator of the Girls Education Project GEP3, in Kano State, said for the world to achieve peace, prosperity, development and global essence, all issues related to the Girl Child must be given priority.
GEP 3 is a Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3), funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), to improve social and economic opportunity for girls in northern Nigeria through increased enrolment, completion, and retention.
According to Jubril, “Girls are also members of the global planet and they are members of the communities; the world cannot achieve any target if the girls are relegated to the background.
“Girls have rights and that they have equal rights with boys. The girls have key roles to play in the elongation and continuation of the SDGs.”
On the intervention programmes of GEP3 in the State, Jubril said the initiative is focused on three focal areas of Governance, training of School Based Management Committees, SBMC, and Centre Based Management Committees, CBMCs.
“We are also engaged in the training of teachers and in the provision of support training programmes for integrated Quranic schools,” Jubril said.
UNICEF also introduced a School Based Management Committee in Kano State, designed to achieve improved governance in schools and retain girls and good numbers of boys in schools.
The UN Agency projects that by the end of 2020, which marks the end of GEP 3, the programme is expected to return one million girls to school, in Kano and other participating States, through its Integrated Quranic Schools.
42,000 primary schools and Islamic Quranic Schools teachers would also be mentored in child centered pedagogy.
The 2020 celebration of the International Day of Education is to reaffirm the role of education as a fundamental right, and as an enabler of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.