Rukayat Akanbi, Bauchi
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that kidnapping, rapping, stealing and dwindling per capital income are the social-economic consequences of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
It said that, if the increasing number of out-of-school kids are not urgently tamed, the nation might suffer “low country-level literacy and numeracy rate and decreasing future labour force”.
UNICEF revealed this on Thursday in Bauchi at a stakeholders sensitisation meeting on house hold community mapping organised by Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (BASUBEB) and supported by the NGO.
The Chief of Field Office, Bauchi Field Office of the UNICEF, Mr. Bhanu Pathak identified the factors contributing to the nation’s out-of-school children, saying that economic reason; cost of schooling, socio-cultural and religion factors remain uphill in reducing the figure.
Mr. Pathak also said that inadequate teachers and facilities (distance of communities to the nearest school, classrooms and toilet) must be addressed to return the kids to classroom.
He was represented by the Officer-in-charge of Bauchi Office, Mr. Amos Kudzala. He said: “It is no longer news that there are over 13million out-of-school children in Nigeria and of this number, about 60 per cent are in the North. This situation is not only unacceptable but calls for urgent action by all educational level.
“To contribute to addressing the challenge of out-of-school children, UNICEF has a vision to collaborate with government institutions, traditional leaders, Civil Society Organizations, faith-based organizations, communities and other development partners to find solutions that will result in getting the out-of-school children back to school.
“To do that, we have to identity where those out-of-school children are —hence the household mapping and enumeration of out-of-school children exercise we have supported the government to embark on.”
UNICEF however, in its schools statistics report of 2019 said that Kano State has the highest number of out-of-school children with 1,496,736 while Bauchi State follows with 1,080,150. It said Jigawa is third with 960,146; Katsina, 946,900; Sokoto, 899,538 and Kebbi with 755,682.
- Mr. Pathak said continuous community engagement and sensitisation is a key factor to reduce the out-of-school children. His word: “Creating enabling environment for learning, improve governance, improving teaching quality and rewarding system are good strategic way of reducing the out-of-school children”.