Nigeria’s ambitious poverty reduction targets depend on the development of human capital. Many drivers of poverty have been considered in detail in a new report, “A Better Future for All Nigerians: Nigeria Poverty Assessment 2022.” Health, nutrition and education are the most important factors in creating human capital.
Even before COVID-19, Nigeria had the result of the worst human capital in the world. According to the 2020 Human Capital Index (HCI) – based on a range of health and education indicators, including infant mortality, expected school years, and sand stunts – a child born in Nigeria that year will grow up to just 36 percent to achieve full health and productivity through education. Could. This was lower than the average of about 40 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. Only six countries worldwide had lower HCI scores.
Relatedly, learning poverty, which retains the ability of 10-year-olds to understand simple sentences or perform basic number tasks, probably extends during an epidemic. Due to lack of data, learning poverty for Nigeria cannot be directly estimated, it now affects 70 percent of children in low- and middle-income countries.
The direct health effects of COVID-19 itself threaten Nigeria’s human capital. The country recorded the first case of Covid-19 on February 27, 2020, and has since been the victim of at least four distinct waves of infection, reaching closer to June 2020, January 2021, August 2021, and January 2022. However, the number of cases recorded in Nigeria was generally lower than in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Yet the impact of COVID-19 on health and education service delivery could have far-reaching long-term consequences for the development of human capital in Nigeria. In terms of health, lockdown measures can prevent or discourage patients from attending health facilities and the epidemic can displace other health services. Direct evidence of service use shows that outpatient counseling and child immunization against other diseases during an epidemic. High-frequency data collected across the epidemic through the Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS) reinforces this message, which shows that, for example, in July 2020, approximately 21 percent of households have 0-5 year olds in need or vaccinated. They could not vaccinate their children because of giving.
The Covid-19 crisis further threatens future generations with its impact on education. Even after the school reopened due to closure in 2020, the attendance rate of children has decreased, especially among older children (Figure 1). Dropouts were also higher in the families most affected by the income crunch, suggesting that families remove children from school to assist in income-generating activities. Using NLPS data in conjunction with school closure data suggests that Nigerian children have lost a consistent year of schooling, such as 0.29, due to both increasing dropouts and reduced school closure disability.
COVID-19 threatens to further inequality in learning, as access to distance learning was unequal across families. Young children from non-poor families had access to distance learning options – through televisions, computers, and smartphones or tablets – compared to poorer families (Figure 2).
As the Kovid-19 epidemic subsides, human capital restructuring represents an immediate policy priority for Nigeria. In part, this means vaccination; The far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 crisis on human capital, livelihoods and well-being can only be addressed if health threats are under control and preventive hygiene practices – such as hand washing and masking – can only go so far. In May 2022, only 13 percent of the Nigerian population received a dose of the vaccine against Kovid-19. The second phase of NLPS further suggests that vaccination rates were lower among poor Nigerians in rural areas because they lacked information on how or where to get vaccinated. Disputes over the Covid-19 vaccine could spread to Nigeria; The country’s vaccination campaign is in competition with the dilemma over vaccines.
Recovering learning loss during an epidemic is also an important element in rebuilding human capital. Nigerians themselves personally advocate for the expansion of learning বিশেষ especially by adding more hours to school days-to help children catch up. Equal to all others, can help encourage children to return to school. Yet far-reaching alternatives are needed that could actually work for poor families in the event that schools have to close again, due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the epidemic. High-tech alternatives may not reach the poor, so low-tech solutions – involving parents and teachers through text messaging or broadcasting lessons via radio – may be more appropriate.
In addition, children — especially those from poorer families — fall behind during the Kovid-19 crisis, and may need to adapt the curriculum to ensure that children can catch up and that learning inequalities do not increase. As evidenced by previous crises, such as the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, overly ambitious curricula can be passed on to children on their own, which can lead to learning disabilities and complications over time. Indeed, there is growing evidence that teaching at the right level can carefully assess a child’s needs and then reinforce the necessary catchup and basic learning by tailoring learning accordingly.
Yet, the principles of strengthening human capital cannot work in a vacuum; For example, in the aftermath of the Kovid-19 crisis, efforts to restructure the Nigerian labor market will be essential so that the skills and talents of young Nigerians can be put to good use. Thus, creating human capital can help accelerate inclusive growth, reduce poverty and create a better future for all Nigerians.