The Connected Development (CODE) and FlexiSAF Foundation on Monday in Abuja sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to combine their resources to tackle the growing number of out-of-school children in the country starting from the North.
The organisations said apart from identifying out of school children and providing quality basic education, their move is in direct accordance with the SDG 4 and SDG 17, to reach these targets ahead of 2030.
The Chief Executive of CODE, Mr. Hamzat B. Lawal and the FlexiSAF Foundation Chairman, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, signed the MoU with a pledge to tackle the rising cases of school drop-out in the North and to be extended to other parts of the country afterwards.
Lawal regretted a UN statistics showing that there are about 13.2 million Nigerian children currently not in school and this figure is increasing daily, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria.
According to him, insurgency, conflicts and unrest militating the North-East combined with deep-rooted poverty, and certain cultural factors especially in the North have pushed the rate of out-of-school children high.
He added that even the few educational facilities in these rural settings are in deplorable conditions, with dilapidated structures, no libraries, congested classrooms with poor ventilation, damaged or no furniture, causing pupils to sit on classroom floors, further discouraging children from attending schools.
He added that the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) records that girls account for 60 percent of the out-of-school population and that for every 100 boys of primary age out of school, 121 girls are denied the right to education, worsening gender-based discrimination and putting girls at a disadvantage.
Lawal express worry that out-of-school children are constantly being exposed to danger of violence, assault, exploitation and anti-social recruitment like terrorism, child-trafficking and kidnapping, urging that addressing out of school children is a challenge that the Nigerian Government must tackle with a sense of urgency.
Also, the Chairman, FlexiSAF Foundation, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad said the partnership comes at a time when sustainable measures must be put in place to strengthen the quality of education in the country and curtail the growing number of out of school children, which has grossly affected the Nation, particularly the Northern region.
“It is indeed a remarkable feat to partner with CODE in our mutual goal to reach out a helping hand to communities in need. We will be able to have access to more communities to provide quality basic education for all children,” Ahmad said.
On her part, the Coordinator FlexiSAF Education, Amina Abubakar, said that there are lots of works to be done in ensuring that Nigerian child goes to school and urged the Federal and State Governments, CSOs and other stakeholders in the Education System, especially the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to commit to securing the education of the Nigerian child.
“As countries strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) that addresses attaining universal primary and secondary education by 2030, this is a wake-up call for the Nigerian government to make educating the nation’s future leaders a priority. We should begin to think up sustainable initiatives to resolve the challenging factors facing out-of-school children,” Amina said.
On his part, FlexiSAF Managing Director, Faiz Bashir, said that change can begin at the grassroots whereby learning opportunities start with community-based education and organizing classes in community buildings so children do not have to walk miles and miles to go to schools.