UNICEF Chief of Enugu Field Office, Ms. Juliet Chiluwe, speaks on relationship between education and lasting peace in Nigeria.

Education is the beacon for reducing inequities, injustices, and inequalities while nurturing the cognitive, social, and emotional skills essential for safeguarding peace.

Juliet Chiluwe

UNICEF is using this year’s International Day of Education to show how education is a beacon for lasting peace. The Enugu office of the agency addressed a media conference to mark the day in Enugu.

The theme, “Learning for Lasting Peace,” reflects how education is a tool for preventing, building, and sustaining peace,” Chiluwe said.

“This theme compels us to recognize the indispensable role that education plays before, during, and after conflicts, with a particular emphasis on ensuring continuity for those who are most marginalized. 

“Education becomes a beacon for reducing inequities, injustices, and inequalities while nurturing the cognitive, social, and emotional skills essential for safeguarding peace, she said.

She also said that the theme underscores the critical need for accessible and equitable quality education, “especially during times of crisis, as we strive to uplift the hearts and minds of all individuals.”

Accordingly, she emphasized the importance of the world being united in protecting learning environments from attacks and mitigating  the negative impacts of conflicts.

This, she said, is important for Nigeria where schools are sometimes closed in many states as a result of crisis.

“We (therefore) gather not only to celebrate the vital role of education in fostering lasting peace, but also to acknowledge the profound challenges that confront our world and impact the lives of those most vulnerable amongst  us.

“It is imperative that we embrace a deep commitment to strengthen learning outcomes, accelerate skills development, and ensure that education is a beacon accessible to all, particularly those on the fringes of society.”.

Governments must strive to end what she called the “learning crisis” by strengthening learning outcomes and accelerating skills development.”

Education must become a reality for every child, including those with disabilities and our adolescent girls, she said.

Chiluwe suggested increased resource allocation to education, debt swaps, and enhanced efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of spending to ensure that no child is left behind.”

Education, she said, is the beacon that helps the world deal with “daunting challenges of climate change, democratic erosion, persistent inequalities, discrimination, hate speech, violence, and conflict,” she said.

It is education that equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of our world, she noted. 

Enugu State Education Commissioner, Prof, Ndubeze Mbah described Education as a cornerstone for building a better tomorrow.

The government of Peter Mbah recognizes education as a catalyst and equalizer of opportunities and has elevated it in the policy mix. This is why the government budgeted more than 30 percent of the 2024 spendings on education which, among others, will be used to build smart schools in 260 wards of Enugu State.

Indeed, in our interconnected world where challenges transcend borders, education has become a catalyst of progress, equality and unity, Mbah said.

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