The Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, said yesterday Nigeria needed an additional 20,000 schools and 907,769 classrooms to be able to absorb the growing number of out-of-school children in the country.
The Director, Press, of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, who disclosed this in a statement, noted that the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Hammed Boboyi, gave the statistics while briefing the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, on his agency’s activities.
Recall that a 2022 report by UNESCO estimated that Nigeria currently had approximately 20 million out-of-school children but the federal government under the former president, Muhammadu Buhari, contended that the country only accounted for 12.4% of the total number of out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Goong said the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, gave “strong indications that his administration would prioritize basic education in the country, emphasizing that the foundation level remained the most critical segment in the sector which must be properly developed to impact positively on other tiers of the sector and overall national development.”
He said the minister stated this in his office in Abuja, in continuation of his briefing sessions with parastatals and agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education.
He added that the government of President Bola Tinubu would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that every Nigeria child was brought on board the ship of education.
The minister noted that the forthcoming national census would put paid to the controversies surrounding the actual figures of out-of-school children.
Earlier in his briefing, UBEC Executive Secretary, Dr. Hamid Bobo, told the ministers that the country needed an additional 20,000 schools and 907, 769 classrooms to absorb the growing number of out-of-school-children.
He identified infrastructure gaps, and inadequate manpower as some of the challenges facing the commission in its efforts to ensure equitable access to quality basic education.
Recall that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had repeatedly expressed concern over the growing number of out-of-school-children in the country, saying it had placed the country on a keg of gunpower waiting to explode.