13.2m Out-of-School Children:UNICEF Charges Nigerian Leaders to Take Action

By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News

As the number of Out-of-Children in Nigeria increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million between 2010 and 2015, the United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF), has called on Nigerian leaders to tackle the situation.

This is just as it said, that the world can only address the problem of out-of-school children, if Nigeria plays her role in addressing the scourge of Boko Haram insurgency.

The Chief of Education UNICEF, Therry Durnnian who made these known on Thursday, at a Pre-Conference briefing on the Northern Nigeria Traditional Rulers Conference on Out-of-school Children in Abuja,said that UNICEF will work with traditional leaders in the area where there are socio cultural and economic challenges, to change the negative perceptions about education.

Durnnian pledged UNICEF’s readiness to take on the challenge of reducing the number of out-of-school children, and called for synergy among stakeholders in the education sector.

“We are concerned about increasing the number of children accessing education in the region. We will ensure that the number of out-of-school children is reduced drastically.

“We are ready to make commitment for actions, the process has begun by UNICEF to lead and support the process of reducing the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria”, he said.

Also speaking,the Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Mr Hamid Bobboyi, who confirmed that the number of out-of-school children increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million,attributed the increase to insurgency challenges and the increasing number of birth.

Bobboyi, who was represented by Mr Bello Kagara, Director, Social Mobilisation, said that, “For some years now, Nigeria has been besieged by Boko Haram insurgency, which has led to the near collapse of education in the north-east Nigeria.

“If you add the number of out-of-school children that have been displaced and with the increasing number of birth, you will find out that our source in Demography Health Survey, revealed the out-of-school children has increased to 13.2 million” he said.

He further noted, that UBEC is seeking for the support of traditional leaders in Northern Nigeria, to increase the number of children accessing education in the region.

“We will partner with Traditional leaders, Religious leaders, and legislators to decide on actions to be taken to increase the number of children accessing education in Northern Nigeria” he stated.

On his part, the Emir of Argungun, Alhaji Samaila Mera,said that due to the several socio-cultural challenges affecting education in Nothern Nigeria, the involvement of traditional rulers was key to solving the problems of out-of-school children.

He further said that the negative perception to formal education and the cost of education are some of the factors that influence educational choices of parents in the region.

“We cannot neglect the issue of family support. Some families prefer their ward to be at home rather than attending school. There are some who have the notion that those who are educated are jobless, hence no need to join the endless cycle” he added.

The two-day Conference of stakeholders from the two critical zones in Northern Nigeria-North West and North East,will see key traditional rulers, decision makers, religious leaders and legislators, brainstorm on the challenges and obstacles to getting children in school  and decide on actions they can take to increase the number of children accessing education in Northern Nigeria.

The conference is expected to take place in Kaduna from 10-11 October 2018.

Photo source/International Centre for Investigative Reporting

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