By Charles Agwam
Bauchi – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has sensitized stakeholders on Household Mapping and Enumeration of Out-of-school Children across 8 selected local government areas of Bauchi State.
The Chief of Field Office, Mr Bhanu Pathak who was represented by the Officer-in-Charge, Amos Kudzala expressed worry that if the increasing number of out-of-school children is not urgently tamed, the nation might suffer low literacy level and numeracy rates and decreasing future labour force.
In a sensitization meeting held in collaboration with Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (BASUBEB) yesterday, Pathak identified factors contributing to the increase in the number out-of-school children.
He said that, in addition to economic reason, cost of schooling, socio-cultural and religious considerations are the major factors for the decline in school enrollments.
His words: “It is no longer news that there are over 13 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, and of this number, about 60 per cent are in the North. This situation is not only unacceptable but calls for urgent action by all stakeholders.
“To contribute to addressing the challenge of out-of-school children, UNICEF has a vision to collaborate with government institutions, traditional leaders, civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, communities and other development partners to find solutions that will result in getting the out-of-school children back to school.
“To do that, we have to identity where those out-of-school children are —hence the household mapping and enumeration of out-of-school children exercise we have supported the government to embark on.”
He further stressed that inadequate teachers, learning facilities and far distance to the nearest school, classrooms and toilet must be addressed to return children to classroom.
According to UNICEF, Bauchi State with 1,080,150 out-of-school children is the second-highest after Kano State which has 1,496,736