In Nigeria, Parents Refusing to Send Kids to School Could Face Jail

Kayode Fayemi, governor of the western Nigerian state of Ekiti, has urged parents to send their children to school since his administration declared free and compulsory education at junior school level. Getting kids to school in his state is no easy task, which is why for 2013/2014 academic session Gov. Fayemi has issued a threat that parents could face jail if they refuse to send their children to school for the primary to junior secondary levels, reports PM News Nigeria.

The governor warns that the government has decided to arrest any parent who has a child of school age that is not in school from this day under the Child Rights Law 2011.

“Let me use this opportunity to sound this note of warning that any child that is of school age, but who is not in school, when he or she is expected to be there, will be picked up.

“And he will be asked to show agent of government, way to their family home where we will in turn pick up the defaulting parents. My government has invested so much in the education sector, and it is our wish that such acts of benevolence will be reciprocated,” Fayemi said.

Nigeria is turning to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for help to overhaul the struggling education system in the country, AllAfrica.com reports. UNESCO will work with local political and education leaders to design a reform plan that will address the unique academic and security challenges facing the country.

The announcement about the combined UN/Nigeria effort came during the official launch of the Tablet of Knowledge (Opon Imo) a program that aims to “shift from the rot” of the education system in the Osun State of Nigeria. Praising the governor of Osun State for the efforts on improving the schools in the area, Professor Hassana Alidou, who was representing UN’s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura to Nigeria, said that UNESCO will be helping to design a new academic framework that aims to root all discrimination from the education system by 2015.

Chapter II of Nigeria’s Constitution guarantees an education for every child, but over 10 million children in the country have been left without an education. A UNESCO release called the 2012 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report shows that of the ~61 million children worldwide who are denied the opportunity to receive a basic education, approximately 1 out of 6 of those children are Nigerian.

Each region of Nigeria seems to face its own challenges to getting kids in the classroom. After an assault on a school dorm that killed 46 people, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram released a video calling for further attacks on schools that commit to ‘Western’ education, Monica Mark of The Guardian reports. Earlier in July of 2013, the group set fire to a dormitory in the Yobe region of Nigeria, burning students and teachers alive and shooting those who tried to escape the flame-engulfed building.