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"Project #ZeroExclusion – schooling for all children"
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"Project #ZeroExclusion – schooling for all children"

Musa TemidayoEducation for all children is the goal, but as Musa Temidayo, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria discovers on a morning walk, many children are still out of school and illiterate. He describes the hurdles they face, and the lost potential when education is seen as a privilege rather than a right.

It’s 7:45am, this day 26th of June, 2014. My location is Modakeke, Osun state, Nigeria. I slept with a bad migraine the previous night, but this morning is somewhat different. I could not figure out what exactly my day schedule will look like.

The noise of school children rushing to school had wakened me up. I had spent much of the previous day going through fresh reports on Nigerian children who are not enrolled in school and those who are out-of-school. The hunch to saunter around the town arose. I wanted to study children in the neighbourhood who are not enrolled in school and those who are out of school.

I took routes that I am not really familiar with, and on my first encounter I saw an unstable woman with two kids who I am sure do have any form of learning. I tried to start a conversation by reaching out alms but could not risk talking for long, so as not to send a wrong message to passersby. The children could only speak the local dialect and I suspect they could neither read nor write.

I walked through shops and could see young children, some working as sales boys and girls while others engaged in other activities that are not educationally oriented. Most of these young children engage in these activities either to support their family or in some cases because their parents feel they lack the intelligence to be educated.

My next stop was at a major road. It was almost 9:00am and still I could see kids and young children in house wear engaged in menial activities, some hawking and others in their guardian’s shop. I took time to study the expression on their faces to see if I could read any resentment towards not being in school. I stopped a young boy in a ruse to ask for direction; I asked him why he is not in school at the moment. He replied that after his dad died, he had to stop schooling to help his mother and siblings with money for their own education. Another said in Yoruba language “I use to go before but I just stop attending”. I asked why – she was not ready to give any reason. Others gave different reasons why they have or might stop schooling.

On getting to the market, I saw other numbers of young kids. I tried talking to some of them but realised that they were mostly migrants who can only speak the Hausa language and a little English for trading purposes.

On my way back, I began pondering on the hash tag “#BecauseofEducation”. Most of the children I came across today see education as a privilege, not a right. I remember the unstable woman’s kids who would not know how to recite and write the alphabet or sing nursery poems, those young boys who would not understand that there are other planets in our solar system or the “mystery” behind the airplanes they see in the sky and wish could carry messages to their distant relations, those young girls who would not know that there is something called Female Genital Mutilation and how it is poses risk to their well being.

#BecauseofEducation, I was able to put in writing this article and type the right keystrokes on my system. Meanwhile, there are other humans in Nigeria and Africa at large who cannot write and read.  #BecauseofEducation, the editor was able to read and re-edit this article and publish it here. My fear is that some children and young kids will grow up not being able to do these things. #BecauseofEducation, your reading this could connect with the good knowledge of internet. Communication was able to connect to this webpage and allow you to read different posts.

Here in Nigeria, I can say the government is not doing enough to reduce the increasing number of out-of-school children. In years to come, if a strategy is not put in place the rate of the grown out-of-school children will be a matter of conscience on the hearts of the educated ones.

photo credit: angela7dreams via photopin cc

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About me: I am from Nigeria, currently studying International Relations at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Osun state. I’m also the Editor-in- Chief for the department. I love travelling and singing, and have  interest in Management and Developmental Issues.

Aside from studying, I work as as the Chairman of my department’s magazine. I want to be a Manager-Human Resource & Conflict Management, and also hope to serve in the Nigerian foreign service.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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