Education Featured Headline News Nigeria

Addressing the menace of out of school children

Children reading the first segment of the network news in Radio Nigeria’s studio.

The International Children’s day of broadcasting was initiated by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF in 1991 to encourage broadcasters worldwide to create awareness on children’s issues.

 It is a day broadcasters allow children to be part of the programming process, to talk about their hopes, dreams and exchange ideas with their peers on issues affecting them.

The theme for this year’s celebration is: ‘More money for primary education’.

Primary Education is fundamental to the educational journey of every child, as such investing in it provides the foundation for a productive and intellectual population.

Nigeria is currently faced with the challenge of millions of out of school children which according to the United Nations 18 million of the country’s children aged between 5 to 14 are not in school.

Also, only 61 percent of 6 to 11year olds regularly attend primary school. 

This has been attributed to refusal of some parents to take responsibility by sending their children to school. This experts have said is a great disservice to the future of the child.

Experts have also described this trend as a threat to the sustainable and future development of Nigeria.

No doubt the increase in crime and insecurity in the society today has largely been attributed to the poor upbringing of children due to the irresponsibility of parents to ensure that they are educationally and gainfully engaged at the rime stage of child development.

Constitutionally, the provision of primary and Junior secondary education in Nigeria is primarily the mandate of States and Local Governments.

However, the Federal Government has been working closely in partnership to develop the sub-sector generally and address the Out-of-School Children challenge.

The major objective of the Universal Basic Education UBE programme in Nigeria is to provide free, universal and compulsory basic education for every Nigeria child aged 6-15 years.

However to successfully ensure that Nigeria children are rightfully enrolled into primary schools, the need for data to ascertain and properly plan for the millions of out of school children is critical, consequently the government had established a robust baseline data on basic education through a comprehensive National Personnel Audit, NPA, of all basic education institutions in 2018.

The baseline conducted by the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC was used to estimate the number of children that are not in school at primary and junior secondary levels in Nigeria.

With this, it has become necessary for Government both at the federal and state levels to strategically combine efforts to tackle the menace of out of school children; this can be done by strengthening inter-agency partnerships with specific programmes that targets various categories of out of school children.

This should also involved the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC), National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) to accommodate the versatility of uneducated children.

There is also the need to step up efforts in improving access for vulnerable groups especially the Almajiri and learners in the Qur’anic schools.

The Federal Government, with State and Local Governments is currently concluding the processes relating to the 2022 NPA of all basic education institutions in the country.

Active involvement of parents, local government authorities and other stakeholders would create an enabling environment for increased demand for qualitative education which is the bedrock of enhanced knowledge, improved behaviour and personal growth of the children.

Writing by Daniel Adejo