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"Uneducated parents need help with parenting"
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"Uneducated parents need help with parenting"

Ayo MorakinyoAyo Morakinyo, 26, an electrical engineer and Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria, argues that parents need help to take better responsibility for their children and encourage them to actually be in school, where they can learn the skills that will set them up for life.

There is a group of six girls I sometimes see when I’m going to work. Though I cannot really guess their ages, I don’t think any of them is older than 11 years.

These girls are always catching up with passers-by to stimulate their compassion and get some money. So, if you were a pedestrian strolling across the walkway that leads to the pedestrian bridge at CMS in Lagos city, it is quite likely that one of those girls would quickly attach herself to you and walk you down the pavement while making signs of “I am hungry” at you.

I have observed these girls for some weeks. I have even tried to converse with one of them. So I know that they are neither schooling nor learning. They cannot speak a national language such as English, Nigerian English or pidgin. And at least one of them cannot answer the question, “What is your name?” I also know that their mothers hang around when they go to solicit for money. One of the women that gave birth to these kids has another child that is always strapped to her back. Both mothers are obviously young, physically abled and extremely idle. But their children are experiencing the joy of childhood in a patronizing way.

The universal basic education programme is available in Lagos and it is free. These girls are not in the Northern part of Nigeria where terrorism is keeping kids out of school. They are in Lagos city with, at least, a parent or guardian. Yet, they are not schooling.

So, it is difficult for me not to ask these questions:

Why are adults with minute or no income producing many babies when they cannot cater for their needs? Who are the men that should share in the responsibility of raising these children? Why are those young uneducated women not trying to acquire vocational skills? Why should those girls be acquiring begging skills when they should be doing classwork or homework?

The ability to procreate is a priceless gift to humanity. But children should not suffer because of it and adults should not abuse it.

The six girls that I see at CMS are quick learners. They have learnt persistence, persuasion and interpretation of non-verbal body languages through what they already do on the street. They would do better if they were put in a school where they could learn positively.

I know that the less privileged are present in every country and that is why the United Nations is still aiming at eradicating poverty. However, if parents are unaware of their basic parental responsibilities, that goal would remain unachieved. It is important for inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations to collaborate and intensify their efforts to reach out to local communities and religious groups with adult education programmes in indigenous languages. It is only when unschooled parents acquire occupational skills and basic parenting knowledge that their kids can be kept in school and learning. This is something we can pursue in tandem with our efforts to improve learning and get all the out-of-school children back to where they belong.

photo credit: Rod Waddington via photopin cc

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About me: I am an animated and artistic writer hailing from the southwest region of Nigeria. I hold a degree in electronics and electrical engineering and am certified as an IT professional.

On days when I am not busy with engineering and management activities, I write prose poems, short stories and journalistic commentaries. In the coming years, I hope to help other people’s lives around the world and aid in the reformation of Africa.

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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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