By Vincent Ujumadu
A RESEARCH conducted by Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development, ECID, a nongovernmental organization, has revealed that no fewer than 90,000 children are out of school in Anambra State.
ECID, which is funded by the UKaid from the United Kingdom government and implemented by the Christian Aid, has been operating in Kaduna and Anambra State since September 2018.
A Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Dr. Ben Nwosu, who has been working with the group, observed that while the urban centers record high level of school attendance, many rural communities in the state suffer educational neglect.
According to him, although there is free education policy in Anambra State, many parents claimed they were paying fees for their wards, especially at the secondary school level.
Nwosu said: “It is quite worrisome because based on official statistics Anambra is one of the educationally advantaged states in the country. It is more worrying when you go into the field and see the wide gap existing between the rural and urban locations.
“Maybe what exists in more developed parts of the state swallows those of the rural areas where there are dilapidated infrastructure with pupils running around during school hours due to absence of teachers”.
The state Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mr. Mark Okoye spoke on the importance of data collection, adding that data collation is a global challenge in view of its financial implications.
He said: “In spite of the challenges, the state has been publishing its data, including GDP reports and Public Finance Management. That is why we are partnering with Christian Aid, which built a portal for us which is one of the biggest achievements in the synergy”.
He said that the findings from the ECID programme would assist the state executive council in policy formulation and data planning and promised to engage the relevant MDAs towards addressing some of the concerns raised by the organization.