Sequel to the call made by two civil society groups on Federal Government to urgently tackle the accelerating number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Education has expressed its readiness to intensify efforts in addressing the menace.
The Connected Development (CODE) and FlexiSAF Foundation raised alarm over the increasing number of out-of-school children, and the detrimental effect it has on the future of Nigeria.
According to them, issues of insurgency, conflicts and unrest in the country, combined with deep-rooted poverty, and certain cultural factors especially in Northern Nigeria, have led to an increase in the number of out-of-school children.
But in a reaction, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, while acknowledging a lack of factual data as a stumbling block to planning, said that in the last four years, the Ministry had worked with partners to find empirical means of getting the actual figures right and devise the best ways of reducing the number of out-of-school children to the barest minimum.
Mr. Echono assured that the Ministry is working in partnership with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the National Population Commission (NPC), and the Bureau of Statistics to tackle the growing number of children between ages 5 and 12 that are not in school.
Reacting, CODE’s Chief Executive, Mr. Hamzat Lawal, said that he was pleased that the Federal Government is seeking to address this menace.
He said that the future of Nigeria is strongly determined by the quality of education of its children.
Lawal expressed 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.
He said that the Government’s response was a timely and must be followed with immediate action that will see to it that Nigeria attains the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education by 2030.