From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government has introduced a new programme, Accelerated Basic Education Programme (ABEP) which will, expectedly, assist in taking children back to school, thereby, reducing the number of out-of-school children across the country.
The ABEP curriculum was designed by the NERDC for abridged programme for school age children who had dropped out of school or had never been to school before. It is implemented to place them in their appropriate classes in school.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who took delivery of the implementating documents from the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), on Thursday, in Abuja, expressed optimism that the programme will herald improved data as regards out-of-school children.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, maintained that issue out-of-school children has been a source of concern for the government, hence the constant search for measures that would improve the situation.
Executive Secretary, NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaid, in his remarks, explained that the programme was designed to provide a catch up education services suitable for the needs of affected children, and in the process mainstream them into formal school programme or provide them with alternative career path through enrollment into vocational training centres
He said the programme which was approved at the 64th meeting of National Council on Education (NCE) was being implemented with support from European Union and PLAN International, and has been piloted in 54 centres in Borno with 8,000 enrollments.
He said: “The uniqueness of the programme is that, it was designed to provide the recipients with certified competences for basic education using effective teaching and learning approaches that matches their maturity.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, in his remarks, commended the programme, hoping that it will pull back over 40 per cent of student lost during transit to Junior Secondary School (JSS).
He said: “The bulk of out-of-school children in Nigeria are in northern states. Data from recently conducted Personnel Audit indicated that the figure is over 70 per cent. Surprisingly, some states in the south are beginning to record high number of out-of-school children lately. Akwa Ibom and Oyo states have joined that class recently and it’s unfortunate.
“I tell them they have no reason to face this challenge because of their antecedent. From the 19th century, southern Nigeria has had good education system at all levels when compared to northern Nigeria.”