By Bashir Bello
KATSINA—Worried by the number of Out of School Children, OOSC in the country, United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF have visited Northern states with leading number of out of school children to express concerns over the growing number despite huge investments.
Nigeria’s figure of Out Of School Children, OOSC, stands at 13.2 million with north having the highest.
Chief Education, UNICEF, Nigeria, Wose Euphrates while on a visit to Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State and later to Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, said the North West shared the huge burden of OOSC hence the need for the visit to emphasize the concerns over the growing number.
According to Euphrates, “SDG data on OOSC show Nigeria as worst in indicators, while the North West share the huge burden.The visit was to emphasize concerns on growing number of out-of-school- children despite huge investments.
“Furthermore, with the demographic trends of Nigeria and the numbers of OOSC especially in Kano. Kano has the largest proportion of OOSC. It will be a wasted opportunity if children do not receive quality learning at the right age, time and environment.”
She affirmed that the Education had already failed a generation of learners while assuring that UNICEF would support the government in advancing the reduction of OOSC.
“One of the strategies of reduction of OOSC is by strengthening government systems to deliver quality education with foundational and employability skills for learners.” she said.
Responding, Governor Aminu Bello Masari, observed that figures on OOSC was alarming, with Katsina among leading states, and linked absence of education to the myriads of security challenges especially in the rural communities.
He decried the pattern of moving children across borders as beggars (Almijiri), and opined that Katsina state was determined to provide education to the Almajiris within their natural environment as most sustainable to facilitate mainstreaming to formal sector.
He pledged to introduce entrepreneurship education at Integrated Quranic Schools while also promising to enhance family investment through promoting girl child education always.
His counterpart, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, said the government was very pleased and agreed that the OOS phenomenon is not something that Kano or the Federation of Nigeria is proud of.
The Governor however disclosed plans to put a legislation in place that will prevent school aged children on the move not to settle.