By Saheed Ibrahim
Stakeholders in the education sector have revealed plans to stem the increasing number of out-of-school children through the finalisation of the national framework of action to eliminate the menace in Nigeria.
The stakeholders spoke in Lagos during a two-day “Stakeholder engagement for the finalisation and adoption of National Framework of action for addressing the out-school-children phenomenon in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the need for government at all levels to tackle the menace head-on, the Deputy Executive Secretary (Services) Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Isiaka Kolawole, said the battle to end the phenomenon required concerted efforts by all shareholders in the sector.
He said, “The Universal Basic Education Commission, in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund and other stakeholders in the education sector, has been battling very hard to ensure that the number of out-of-school children is reduced to the very minimum. The last UNICEF figure was over 10 million for the country, far greater than seen elsewhere. It is not a figure that we can afford to live with as a nation, especially in the process of nation-building.
“We are doing our very best to ensure that this is addressed. It is not something that an intervention can handle alone. That is why all the stakeholders, especially the state and local governments, are constitutionally responsible for tackling basic education to rise to the challenges. I believe we are making progress going in that direction.”
An educationist at UNICEF in Nigeria, Mrs. Azuka Menkiti, said the current out-of-school children had become worrisome for stakeholders in the education sector.
She said, “This figure by UBEC has given UNICEF a huge concern. 15 percent of global out-of-school children are in Nigeria. Like every other development partner, UNICEF is concerned that we are dealing with this huge number of children whose right to basic education has been eroded.”
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