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We need credible, reliable data to tackle menace of Out-of-School children – Adamu

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Lokoja – The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu on Thursday reiterated the need to have a credible and reliable school data to solve the nation’s problem of Out-of-School Children syndrome.

Almajiri schools in the North

Adamu said this at the end of a three-day 2nd National Conference on Education Management Information System (NEMIS) 2018 in Lokoja.

The theme of the conference is “Making Every Learner’s Environment Count: A Panacea for Empirical Education Data and Solving the Problem of Out-of School Children Syndrome in Nigeria”,

Adamu said that lack of accurate and timely data had continued to be a problem in policy formulation and planning in nation’s education sector, adding that data would aid the utilisation of resources to avoid wastage.

“This conference underscores the significance of reliable and valid data and the sense of urgency with which the education sector strives to ensure that data is readily available.

“It is important to note that data is a tool for proffering solution to not only educational but societal problems. Data enhances policy formulation to solving current and future challenges,” Adamu said.

Adamu, who was represented by Dr (Mrs) Chioma Nwadei, Director Educational Planning, Research & Development, in the Ministry of Education, said that lack of accurate data had brought embarrassment to education sector, especially as it related to the actual number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.

The minister said that the attempt to redress the ugly situation led to the establishment of the Education Data Bank which had now transformed to National Education Management Information System and other efforts made.

“These efforts, I must confess have started generating positive results, 75 per cent of the states now have functional EMIS which is the panacea for generation of credible data.

“This is also evidenced in the fact that the ministry has been able to generate and report education data up to 2016 to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics for Global Reporting and Competitiveness, among other benefits,” he said.

Mr Godwin Ettah, the Chairman of All Commissioners for Education and Cross River State Commissioner said that education remained the basic foundation for freedom, adding that data was needed in all professions.

Ettah said that education foundation in the country was very weak, and extra steps should be taken to addressing the problems, saying Nigeria should under-study Finland, who has zero out-of-school children.

He, therefore, called on the federal and state governments to adopt a deliberate policy to properly allocate and ensure total release of such allocated fund to education sector.

Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Afolashade Ayoade said that education remained the topmost priority of his administration’s five thematic areas in the blueprint.

According to Bello, it is the responsibility of governments and all relevant stakeholders to secure the education system by ensuring the generation of accurate and reliable data for effective planning.

“We take the issue of education very serious in Kogi, and we are always interested in the delivery of quality education to our people.

“We will definitely align with every policy that is rolled out by the Federal Government in managing the education sector,” the governor said.

Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, said that in spite the limited resources, Kogi had been able to strengthen institution and ministry’s capacity to ensure coherent, consistent and regularised process for data collection, quality assurance and evaluation.

“Also we conducted annual school census, strengthen data management at all levels, functional EMIS department, website, policy framework, construction of ICT centres in schools, among others,” Osikoya said.

NAN reports that the conference was attended by commissioners and their representatives from all the states across the country including the FCT, and all the relevant stakeholders and development partners. (NAN)
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