Concerned Parent & Educators Network Unveils Nation-Wide Advocacy Plan – The way Forward [Photos]

Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, Principal Partner, Edumark Consult, Founder, Concerned Parents & Educators Network, Addressing a Cross Section of Journalists In Lagos

The Concerned Parents and Educators forum having taken several giants strides to take action on the current debilitating and deteriorating standard of education as well as standard of life in the country, went a notch higher by earmarking February as a general advocacy month to address critical issues besetting the standard of living in the Nigeria as well as other facets of the country, contributing to continued poverty, poor education and unemployment.

This is why the concerned parents and educators forum as headed by Mrs Yinka Ogunde, the founder of the group as well as members of the board of trustees such as Mrs Toyin Idowu,Adejoke Lai Babatunde,Dr.Oshin have collectively strived to take the lead in addressing core issues of health,education,finance affecting children and parents in low income areas of the country in conjunction with its ever expanding members of over 118,000 members all over the country to make a positive, lasting influence.

The forum has readied itself more than in previous times, to be an advocacy forum for creating awareness and enlightenment for less privileged areas of the country to provide support and put a smile on the faces of people suffering, children with disability, homeless kids, refugee camps, parents who are financially incapable of paying for their children’s school fees, low income schools with dilapidated school structures, inadequate teaching aids and reading materials.

This is evident in the advocacy crusade which is set to bring a wave of change all over the country from February 2020 with insightful strategies which would rally around NGOs home and abroad, employ social media campaigns to push out the ordeals and trials of everyday Nigerians who are struggling and need a helping hand to stand, walk and fly.

This is what Concerned Parents Forum stand for, making an impact one step at a time, one individual at a time, one child at a time, over 20 states in the country have shown immense interest to be a part of the “Save Education Now” Initiative which is the theme of the advocacy programme slated for February 2020 and have expressed undaunted support to effectively tackle the core issues that have bedevilled the overall state Education in the Country.

The goal is to be the voice that heralds change in Nigeria, starting with Education which is the bedrock of the success and failure of any country, education has to be at the center of it all, this is the stand of the Concerned Parents Forum.

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Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, Principal Partner, Edumark Consult, Founder, Concerned Parents & Educators Network, Presenting Her Speech During The Press Briefing and Unveiling Of The National Advocasy Campaign, Held In Lagos

Find Below Press Statement, Issued And Presented By The Principal Partner, Edumark Consult, Mrs Yinka Ogunde, Who Is Also The Founder, Concerned Parents & Educators Network;

The Board of Trustees, Concerned Parents & Educators Network (CPE), Stakeholders in Nigeria’s Education Sector, Esteemed Parents, Members of the CPE Family, Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies & Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this auspicious Press Conference organized by CPE to herald the historic advocacy campaign for education reforms in Nigeria. Thank you for honoring our invitation to be a part of the great influencers and change-makers in Nigeria’s education sector.

It’s a brand New Year; a New Decade and the long-awaited Year 2020, upon which many new innovations and visions are hinged. There is perhaps no better time than now to embark on this advocacy for change, considering the gross decay in our education sector and the danger it portends for our children now and in the near future.

The Former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela once said that, “Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world.” That, of course is if it is channeled towards the right direction.

This is the message of CPE and we have chosen February as our Education Transformation Advocacy Month.  Concerned Parents & Educators Network (CPE) actually started four years ago as an online platform with the main objective of bringing together keys stakeholders in the education sector to deliberate on ways we can improve standards in our schools, empower teachers with necessary information and skills, support parents, protect our children and generally ensure that we have better outcomes in our schools and in the lives of our children.

Today, CPE has grown in leaps and bounds, with 116, 000 members across Nigeria talking about issues that are critical to the development of the education sector and proffering solutions to the multiple challenges inherent there. Interestingly, this initiative has also led to discussions about teachers’ development and birthed another online platform exclusively for teachers’ training and capacity building. Much more, it has also birthed a social welfare group where we support indigent children through educational scholarship.

Today’s Press Conference is to officially unveil our advocacy program and engage stakeholders across the country on how to steer the wheel of sustainable development and holistic transformation in the education sector.

Many people complain that the graduates being churned out of our universities today are unemployable. The question is- Why are they unemployable? What are the processes that we need to put in place to make them employable? What are the things we need to do to make sure our children can compete favorably with others across the world?

At this time, we can no longer ignore what is happening in our schools, be it public or private; be it low-cost or high-brow. So, all hands must be on deck to engage key stakeholders: corporate organization, religious organizations, traditional rulers, community leaders, parents, teachers, civil society groups etc and let them know that it is time for us to transform the education sector in Nigeria.

The reason is simple. If we don’t do anything, nothing is going to change. We need people who will be able to take ownership of the problems and not just talk about the problems. It is so easy to talk but it is more challenging to do,

Already, there is serious mobilization going on in different states across Nigeria as CPE chapters have been inaugurated in 21 states, namely, Abia, Abuja, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Niger, Kwara, Katsina, Kaduna, Kogi and of course Lagos State.

The advocacy at hand is a month-long project with the line-up of activities as follows:

Week 1- Speak Out

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Week 2- Video Call

Week 3- School Help Campaign

Week 4- Presentation of Letters to State Commissioners

Week 1 Speak Out. This session is for everybody to speak out in churches, mosques, offices, eateries and everywhere. It’s a time for corporate organization to come out and tell us what they are doing to support the education sector. It’s a time for government to tell us their plans for this sector. We want everyone to come out and give specific reports on what they are doing as regards education.

Week 2 Video Challenge. Probably, a lot of people would be online this particular week with short video clips on all social media platforms, suggesting ways to solve the problems they have identified in the education sector. It may be the problem of drug abuse, poor remuneration, lack of capacity building programs, lack of infrastructure etc. This is more of social media awareness and campaign.

Week 3 “Na Me” School Help Campaign. We are hoping that this will be an answer to debunk the ongoing negative campaign that “School is Scam” which is currently serving as weapon to manipulate our youths to jettison education and pursue success elsewhere. So, we need people with strong and convincing testimony as to how school has helped. We need them to go back to schools and share their experiences with the students as to how education has helped them achieve success in life.

Week 4 Presentation of Letters to State Commissioners: On or before the 4th week, many of the CPE state chapters would have met. We expect them to draft their own letters and communiqué and send it to their Commissioner for Education; send it to the Chairman of SUBEB; send to the state House of Assembly and even the Governor, stating in specific terms the reforms they want to see in the education sector.

Competition has a role in global economics, but collaboration has an increasingly more important role in today’s world. It is our hope that this advocacy will enable us collaborate together to transform Nigeria’s education sector; and that everyone will be able to take ownership of the problems and be committed to proffering solutions to them.

The Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Pirjosuomela Chowdhury once described education as “the most important element in achieving financial freedom and the useful instrument in building blocks of equality.

For us to achieve true financial freedom as a nation, we must give priority attention to the education sector and be committed to its transformation. More importantly, we must demonstrate commitment to building an educational system that equips the Nigerian child with the ability and competence to compete favorably with her peers anywhere in the world.

Thank you for your time and attention. Thank you for being a part of this historic event.

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