THE Editor-in-Chief of the Africa Centre for Development Journalism (ACDJ), Rotimi Sankore, has said that none of Nigeria’s six geographic zones can boast of 50 per cent of males that have gone to school.
Sankore, disclosing this at the World Development Information Day Lecture & Awards, which held today at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lagos, said that Nigeria had a larger number of people that cannot read, write or keep jobs.
He said, “We have a population that cannot read at all – Northwest 70 per cent, Northeast 68 per cent, Northcentral 50 per cent, Southwest 19 and Southeast 20. In the Northwest, only 19 per cent of males had completed secondary school, Northeast 18, and Northcentral 30 per cent. Southwest, Southeast and Southsouth, it is above 40 per cent, but none of the six geopolitical zones has over 50 per cent of males that have completed secondary school. While those that have lower rates of secondary school education completion are more unstable, more insecure, the rest of the country is not really far behind.”
Sankore stated that only four states in Nigeria have a situation where more than 50 per cent of males had completed secondary education. He added that no state in Nigeria has a situation where 50 per cent of females had completed secondary school.
The seasoned journalist, during his presentation, noted that Nigeria’s investment in human capital development was abysmal.
He said, “Please note a lot of these problems are coming from the sub-national level, from the states in the Northeast, Northwest and Northcentral. It is not because people don’t want to go to school, it is because schools have not been built. Those states are in near feudalism and investment has not been made.”
Sankore stressed that Nigeria had been continuously plagued by underdevelopment, with poor investment in human capacity
He said, “In 1960, the population of Nigeria was the same as France. By 2000, France’s population went up by 20 million, in that same period, Nigeria’s population went up by 161 million. There are reasons why developed countries are more developed. One of them is investment in human capacity relative to population growth. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute of Statistics recently released new statistics that 20 million out of school children are between the ages of six and 16 years old.”
He stressed the importance of gender equality, especially for women, “because if there is a large population of girls and women who cannot read, they are open to exploitation, high fertility rate and poverty and so on.”
The higher the inequality in a country is, he pointed out, the more fragile the country becomes.