From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Federal Government has sought the collaboration of all stakeholders to end the problem of out-of-school children as part of a strategy to instil peace environment and reduce violence in Nigeria.
Minister of State for Education Chukwuemaka Nwajiuba sought the partnership of the stakeholders including the philanthropists, communities, traditional institutions to end the menace in the country during the national campaign on out-of-school children held in Birnin Kebbi.
‘The Federal Ministry of Education is determined in ensuring that school-age children who are out of schools are returned and retained, thereby reducing the escalating figure to the barest minimum,’ he said.
‘The Ministry is set to identify school-age children that are not in school and to ensure their enrollment in school, formal and non-formal learning centres, with close proximity materials which might hinder them from enrolling.
‘It is our belief that such children who enrol in school will remain, complete and transit to higher levels of education when enabling learning environment is created.’
Nwajiuba, who requested all stakeholders to team up on the campaign, said, ” I also request that good spirited individuals, philanthropists, and gatekeepers who are stakeholders in this regard, provide support, adopt the children that are orphans and out-of-school.
‘They should take responsibility for their education, because, the gains of these efforts far outweigh the losses. May I equally add that, if we can gainfully engage our teeming children and youth, we will experience a peaceful environment and less violence in the nation,’ he said.
In his remarks, Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, disclosed that the state has been able to enrol 647,853 out of school children from 2015, which represented a 79 per cent reduction in the out of school children.
He said that when the present administration came on board, statistics from NEEDS in 2015 had it that 10million children are out of school in Nigeria with 814,915 were said to be in Kebbi State which the state government has to provide for.
‘Accordingly, in order to improve access to equitable and inclusive basic education, my administration spent N15.5 billion in the construction of 522 blocks of 1,168 classrooms, provided 138 motorised boreholes and handpumps, constructed 538 units of toilets, provided 43,000 units of furniture and renovated 2,011 classrooms.
‘Similarly, 42 Nomadic schools were constructed to provide access to out-of-school children nomads and migrant fishermen.’
He added that 167 basic literacy centers under the Adult and Non- former education were established across the 21 LGEAs to provide basic literacy for 59,782 out-of=school children across the state.
While speaking on the impact of BESDA, Bagudu said: ‘Through the collaborative efforts of the state and development partners,3,008 Qur’anic Schools were integrated into the mainstream education system with an enrolment figure of 347,944 Almajiris.
‘Similarly, 1,907 girl-child non-formal learning centres were established across the 21 LGEAs in the state with an enrolment figure of 220,186. Through the nomadic education programme, 19,941 children of Nomads were also enrolled into the non- former learning centres across the 21 LGEAs.
‘Through these series of interventions and programmes,Kebbi State was able to enroll a total number of 647,853 out-of-school children back to schools from 2015 to date. This figure represents a 79 per cent reduction in the number of out-of-school children in the state,’ he said.