By Bashir Bello
KATSINA – Worried by the number of Out of School Children, OOSC in the country, the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, has visited some 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 visit to Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State and later to Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, said that the North-West shares the huge burden of OOSC hence, the need for the visit to decry the growing number.
According to Euphrates, “SDG data on OOSC show Nigeria as worst in indicators, while the North-West shares the huge burden.
“The visit was to emphasise concerns on growing number of out-of-school-children despite huge investments.
“Furthermore, with the demographic trends of Nigeria and the numbers of OOS especially in Kano, Kano has the largest proportion of children Out of School (OOS).
“It will be a wasted opportunity if children do not receive quality learning at the right age, time and environment,” Euphrates said.
She affirmed that the Education has already failed a generation of learners while assuring that UNICEF will support the government in advancing the reduction of OOSC.
“One of the strategies of reduction of OOSCs 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. He 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 take away school-aged children from the streets.