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Eradicating Out-of-School Children Phenomena.

UNESCO | Definition, History, Members, & Facts | Britannica
The goal of Sustainable Development Goals4 (SDG4) is for every child to have quality education by the year 2030. This can only be realized if there is adequate financial backing from the Federal Government to achieve this goal. Budgetary allocation to education is still very low. 6% as against 26% recommended by UNESCO was allocated to Education in 2018. It would not even be enough to maintain the free Basic Education enacted in the Nigerian constitution. Hence the need to establish National Education Insurance Scheme serviced by the private sector which will yield more income for the Federal Government as well as be beneficial to the private sectors, students and parents after this world ravaged pandemic.

National Education Insurance Scheme (NEIS) would be an auxiliary and sustainable means of funding Basic Education in Nigeria in order to ensure that every child of school age goes back to school after COVID19 pandemic. Education at the basic level is free and compulsory, yet  most children are out-of-school. NEIS would complement the governments efforts for the achievement of 2030 Education Agenda.

It is obvious that many parents would lose their jobs after the pandemic coupled with the global economic downturn and recession. This would result in many students at all levels of education not being able to go back to school. The most hard hit is the Basic level of education.
One would argue that Basic education is free and compulsory in Nigeria. But in actual fact, this is not true. The Nigerian child at the Basic level in public schools pays up to N30,000 to enroll in school. No receipt is given for this payment because of fear of accountability and transparency. Also the school authorities do not want to let the world know that these students pay. Already the World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, UN partner with the Nigerian government to ensure free basic education in Nigeria by provision of monetary, technical and infrastructural needs.

Of recent, with global recession, COVID19 pandemic / Lock down, insecurity, mismanagement and lack of accountability, these International Donor Agencies (IDAs) have stepped down funding education in Nigeria. This would result in the school authority not getting enough fund to run the school, dilapidated infrastructures and non payment of teachers’ salaries. Parents  would now be tasked to pay for the Basic education that is supposed to be free and compulsory.
Parents do not have enough to pay because most of them are out of job, have not been paid for months or must have died of COVID19 or even are in the isolation center. The resultant effect is that the children are sent out of school. This will result in the children’s inability to gain access to quality education, thereby undermining the SDG4 goal of education for all.

The Federal Government has made some conceited efforts to ensure that no child is left behind in education especially at the basic level by increasing investment in education, strengthening governance frameworks and the skills of administrators in order to entrench and promote a culture of accountability, effectiveness and efficiency in the management of public investment in education among others that are stipulated in the National Policy on Education (2013 edition).
Being aware that the above measures have not yielded much fruits in the education of the Nigerian child before COVID19 pandemic, one wonders what will happen after the pandemic.

National Education Insurance Scheme (NEIS) is therefore an insurance plan designed to ensure continuation that every child as well as all students at the secondary and tertiary institutions are back to school after the pandemic. It would be solely serviced, funded and managed by the private sector tax free. The student would pay little or no school fees to get access to quality education.
In this way, education in Nigeria would not only be the responsibility of the Federal, State, Local Authority and private sector but also insurance companies as service providers with resultant symbiotic benefits.
Photo gallery: Literacy Project for Young Girls and Women in ...
A similar scheme, designed essentially to partner with government to raise funds for education has been adopted by several countries in Europe for example in New Zealand and United Kingdom, where even basic infrastructure in education is funded through a consortium of private firms.
A situation where  government's intervention agencies in education are embroiled in corruption allegations and inefficiency makes it imperative for us to look elsewhere for funding. It is no exaggeration to say that, no nation can develop if it does not pay adequate attention to its educational policy. The rot and decay in education takes its toll on the overall well being of the nation.
If designed well and implemented alongside a strong accountability framework, NEIS has the potential to raise the bar in education financing in Nigeria after COVID19 pandemic.

Private Public Partnerships in education have gained attractions and influence over the past few decades, as witnessed by the growing number of collaborations between the private sector and the state to help governments around the globe to meet their educational needs. They are increasingly viewed as providing a way of meeting the Education for All Goals ( Patrinos et al 2009).
Students in public schools both in urban and rural areas would benefit from this scheme thereby ensuring sustainable education for all. It will also bridge the gap between the poor and the rich in our society.

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