Following 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.
Connected Development 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 the partners, 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.
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, stated that in the last 4 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.
CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, stated that he is pleased that the Federal Government is seeking to address this menace, adding that the future of Nigeria is strongly determined by the quality of education of its children.
Lawal, was worried that out-of-school children are constantly being exposed to danger of violence, assault, exploitation and anti-social recruitments such as terrorism, child-trafficking and kidnapping.
He added that the Government’s response is a timely one and must be followed with immediate action that will see to it that Nigeria attains Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education by 2030.