A non-profit organisation, Concerned Parents and Educators Network has declared the readiness to move against the current debilitating and deteriorating standard of education as well as standard of living in the country.
Speaking at the unveiling of the national advocacy campaign held recently for the sector in Lagos, the Founder of the group and Principal Partner, Edumark Consult, Mrs Yinka Ogunde said the group is targeting February as a general advocacy month to address critical issues besetting the standard of living in Nigeria as well as other facets of the country contributing to continued poverty, poor education and unemployment.
She said the goal is to be the voice that heralds change in Nigeria, starting with education which is the bedrock of the success and failure of any country; “education has to be at the center of it all, this is the stand of the CPE.
“The forum has prepared itself more than in previous times, to be an advocacy forum for creating awareness and enlightenment for the less privileged areas of the country to provide support and put a smile on the faces of people suffering, children with disability, homeless kids, refugee camps, parents who are financially incapable of paying for their children’s school fees, low income schools with dilapidated structures, inadequate teaching aids and reading materials.
“This is evident in the advocacy crusade which is set to bring a wave of change all over the country from February 2020 with insightful strategies which would rally around NGOs home and abroad, employ social media campaigns to push out the ordeals and trials of everyday Nigerians who are struggling and need a helping hand to stand, walk and fly.
“This is what Concerned Parents Forum stand for, making an impact one step at a time, one individual at a time, one child at a time, over 20 states in the country have shown immense interest to be a part of the “Save Education Now” Initiative which is the theme of the advocacy programme slated for February 2020 and have expressed undaunted support to effectively tackle the core issues that have bedeviled the overall state Education in the Country,” she disclosed.
Ogunde said people complain that the graduates being churned out of the universities in the country today are unemployable. “The question is- Why are they unemployable? What are the processes that we need to put in place to make them employable? What are the things we need to do to make sure our children can compete favorably with others across the world?
“At this time, we can no longer ignore what is happening in our schools, be it public or private; be it low-cost or high-brow. So, all hands must be on deck to engage key stakeholders: corporate organization, religious organizations, traditional rulers, community leaders, parents, teachers, civil society groups and let them know that it is time for us to transform the education sector in Nigeria.
“The reason is simple. If we don’t do anything, nothing is going to change. We need people who will be able to take ownership of the problems and not just talk about the problems. It is so easy to talk but it is more challenging to do.
On how CPE will handle the campaign, Ogunde said already, there is serious mobilization going on in different states across Nigeria as CPE chapters have been inaugurated in 21 states, namely, Abia, Abuja, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Niger, Kwara, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Lagos State.
The advocacy at hand is a month-long project with the line-up of activities as follows: Week one is for ‘Speak Out’ where everybody speak out in churches, mosques, offices, eateries and everywhere. It’s a time for corporate organization to come out and tell us what they are doing to support the education sector. It’s a time for government to tell us their plans for this sector. We want everyone to come out and give specific reports on what they are doing as regards education.
“Second Week is ‘Video Call Challenge’; people would be online this particular week with short video clips on all social media platforms, suggesting ways to solve the problems they have identified in the education sector. It may be the problem of drug abuse, poor remuneration, lack of capacity building programs, lack of infrastructure etc. This is more of social media awareness and campaign.
While third week ‘School Help Campaign’ according to her is the ‘School Help Campaign’. “We are hoping that this will be an answer to debunk the ongoing negative campaign that “School is Scam” which is currently serving as weapon to manipulate our youths to jettison education and pursue success elsewhere. So, we need people with strong and convincing testimony as to how school has helped. We need them to go back to schools and share their experiences with the students as to how education has helped them achieve success in life.”
For Week four, she said is the Presentation of Letters by the state chapters of CPE to State Commissioners, Chairman of SUBEB; House of Assembly and the Governor, stating in specific terms the reforms they want to see in the education sector.
Concerned Parents & Educators Network (CPE) started four years ago as an online platform with the main objective of bringing together keys stakeholders in the education sector to deliberate on ways to improve standards in schools, empower teachers with necessary information and skills, support parents, protect children and generally ensure that the country has better outcomes in schools and in the lives of the children.
Today, CPE has grown in leaps and bounds, with 116, 000 members across Nigeria talking about issues that are critical to the development of the education sector and proffering solutions to the multiple challenges inherent there.