From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has disclosed that Nigeria now has the highest number of out-of-school children.
Farouq, who made the disclosure at the inauguration of the National Steering Committee on Alternate School Program, yesterday in Abuja, said the federal government would continue to devise means to address the problem specifically by providing them with quality basic education and skills in special settings not addressed in a conventional school system.
‘You are all aware that Nigeria is the leading nation in the world with the most out-of-school children,’ the minister noted.
‘Consequently, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Alternate School Programme ASP to ensure that every out-of-school child in Nigeria gains access to quality basic education, irrespective of social, cultural or economic circumstance.
‘The Alternate School Programme is expected to help provide opportunities for out-of-school children to develop life supporting skills from vocational and entrepreneurship training for effective functioning in the society.
‘Each member of this National Steering Committee has been carefully chosen in expectation of the immense value you will bring in charting the strategic direction of this programme.’
She explained that ‘the Alternate School Programme is designed to improve access to education for all Nigerians children in line with the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-4) on Qualitative and inclusive education for all and significantly reduce the number of Out-of-School-Children through the integration of formal and informal educational systems.
‘It aims at eliminating or substantially reducing itinerancy, child begging and foster tolerance, unity and integration of all children with diverse backgrounds.
‘The Terms of Reference for the National Steering Committee include ensuring engagement and effective uptake of the ASP initiatives across the country, refining and focusing on the vision of the initiative, reviewing and approving all work, implementation plans andundertaking any other task that will enhance the effective delivery of the initiative.’