Tuesday, November 16, 2021 3:18 pm
By Adeboye Oluwole
As talks and debates by Citizen’s Intervention Accountability Network (CIAN) on who should be Nigeria’s next president continues, it has also initiated moves for the commencement of its presidential advocacy essay competition for students. It is tagged “Education Agenda For Nigeria Next President”.
The Committee Director of Information and Strategy, Dr Candyfidel Onwuraokoye, stated that the decision is hinged on the fact that Nigeria’s educational system is in crisis. This is in the areas of infrastructural decay, neglect, waste of resources, problem of teacher-student ratio, overcrowded classes, poor remuneration and ridiculous conditions of service. Worse still, 3.2 million out of school children roam the streets begging, hawking and others. These deny them of a better future.
He went further: “For those that are in School, 27 million of them are performing very poorly, while some are not learning anything due to a poor curriculum design that engenders a disconnect between what the children are seeing at home and on the TV, and what they are being taught in school.
“While we all agree that education is the bedrock of development and the basic currency of a knowledge economy, it is intriguing to see how education takes a back seat in our resources allocation priority. Out of Nigeria 2021 budget of N13. 6 trillion, only 5.7% was allocated to education, a drop from 6.7% in 2020. This is a far cry from the UNESCO’s 15%-26% recommendation. He stated that getting out of school children back into school will require a strong political will, in addition to massive budgetary spending, that will address the multiplicity of socio-cultural, political and systemic challenges responsible for the near collapse of the Nigerian’s educational system. In achieving these objectives, it is important that the children also, have to get talking. They have to start speaking out, advocating and getting involved in subject matter that involves their destiny, their tomorrow, and the delicate construction of their future”.
The Director of project, Mr Samson Abraham Ayefun also spoke. He detailed the Presidential Advocacy Essay Competition that 5 million school pupils across Nigeria from JSS 1 to SS3 along with their Diaspora counterparts are expected to participate in. All entries must be original and well written in English Language.
Ayefun added: “Submission of entry ends November 30th and late submission of entry shall not be considered. After creating their profile on CIAN’s website at www.thecian.org., participants shall submit their Advocacy Essay in a typed written format, preferably in a Microsoft word file and paste or attach it on an entry form provided on the organization’s webpage. Long submissions will not be considered. In other words, essay must be between 500-800 words in length. Only one submission per entrant shall be allowed”.
“The short listing evaluation process will take a two –pronged approach. CIAN will use criteria like grammar, usage, mechanics, style, organization development to short list and determine essay entries that will move forward in the selection process”.
“Thereafter CIAN shall appoint and constitute a five- man resource person panel largely drawn from the university community and preferably from UNILAG and LASU to score the selected essay entries. In carrying out their assessment, the resource persons shall make use of double -blind peer review system (DBPRS). With this process, six young pupils will emerge to go into Abuja FCT for a round of debate that will sportlight and activate national interest, needed to stir state actors and the policy community for immediate plan of action”.
CIAN, shall entirely work with the Federal Ministry of Education along with its counterpart in the state ministries across the 36 states. They will advocate and lobby for good budgetary allocation for education that is critical for delivery and attainment of agenda 4 of the sustainable development goal before 2030.
“The six Presidential Advocates shall be flown to Abuja from anywhere across Nigeria, and their hotel accommodation booked to commence the great Debate. These young pupils will be paired in twos, and the best Advocates will finally emerge. The three Presidential advocates that will emerge shall be allowed to present their selected papers in February 2022 at the Cian National civic project tagged` Nigerian’s next president in Abuja with N1million cash prices awarded to the first, N700,000 to the second and N500,000 to the third`place advocate”.
The debate is planned to increase the momentum of the advocacy pitch across Nigeria. It is also intended to eliminate all possible bias that could accompany the essay submission process , in term of plagiarism, impersonation, and activities of mercenary-writers. In addition, while the date will put the children faces behind the advocacy, it will also provide the opportunity to see how students will own , and defend what they have written in their essay submission.
Cian’s Book on the Nigeria’s Next President will be available in tertiary institutions, secondary schools, libraries and in all book stores nation wide soon.