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FG renew commitment to out of school children, parents

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq.

The Alternate School Programme, National Steering Committee says it will provide free meals for Out-Of-School Children and Conditional Cash Transfer for parents of the children while the children are being educated.

The Chairman of the committee and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq made this known in Abuja at the 5th meeting of the Technical Working Group of the Alternate School Programme Steering Committee.

The meeting was convened as a follow-up after members of the TWG visited selected cluster sites in each of the six geo-political zones and FCT to assess the plight of the children.

The Minister said that the inability of Out-Of-School-Children to access education was partly due to their socio-economic obstacles.

She however stated that the problem would be tackled through several distinct measures.

“We have aimed to tackle this problem in a multi-pronged fashion by not only providing educational opportunities to the OOSC but simultaneously providing them buffers against challenges that impede their ability to access education; for example, daily feeding for them when they are being educated by us and Conditional Cash Transfers for their parents to enable their active participation.

The Minister also explained that the field expedition has thrown more light on the plight of Out-Of-School-Children in the country which will also help in the planning and provision of infrastructure for their re-integration into the school system.

“We will hear the much-needed feedback on the beneficiaries, the environments and how the ASP can effectively be situated in these places. It is hoped that these visits have given the Technical Working Group much-needed insight into how this programme can be scaled up on a national level in line with the wishes of Mr President; and how they can improve their designs on implementation for the imminent rollout of this programme”.

Some of the resolutions adopted by the Committee include the immediate conduct of a census of Out-of-School Children in the country, the immediate take-off of the Alternate School Programme Hubs and the provision of adequate budgetary allocation for the School Feeding Programme to cater for the ASP Hubs.

States visited include Kano, Enugu, Rivers, Borno, Plateau, Lagos and the FCT.

Reporting by Hadiza Abdulrahman; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino