The Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, has commended the 8th Senate, and its President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki for the recent amendment to the Universal Basic Education Act, which extends the right to free education across Nigeria from nine years to twelve years for all children.
In a tweet on her personal Twitter handle on Friday, 11th August, @Malala, Yousafzai stated the following: “Good news from Nigeria. Thank you to @bukolasaraki and the Senate!”
While in a more formal reaction, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Malala Fund, Philippa Lei, issued the following statement:
“Malala Fund welcomes the recent amendment to Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education Act, extending the right to free education from nine years to 12 years for all children.
“Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, but has more girls out of school than any other country in the continent. Studies are clear — education of girls through senior secondary school grows economies, reduces conflict and improves health.
“Nigeria has the resources to educate girls and transform the country. We hope this amendment signal that Nigeria’s leaders are serious about education,” the Malala Fund stated.
A Saturday August 12th, 2017, response to the Malala Fund from the Office of the Senate President’s handle, @SPNigeria, read:
“Yes, @MalalaFund and @Malala, @NGRSenate and @SPNigeria @bukolasaraki remain committed to taking children off the streets and back to class!”
Recall that last month, the Senate amended the Compulsory, Free, Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 with a clause that will make primary and secondary education free and compulsory across the country.
Additionally, the amendment will ease pressure on states in accessing funds for infrastructure development, by reducing the 50 per cent counterpart funding clause to access education intervention funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), downward to only 10 per cent.
This is aimed at providing access to the over N60 billion that has accumulated in UBEC to fund education in Nigeria’s 36 States.