• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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FG to mop up 10.2m out-of-school children in 4yrs

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, pledged its readiness to mop up the 10.2 million out-of-school children from the streets to classrooms by 2027.

Yusuf Sununu, the minister of state for education, disclosed this when he paid an official visit to the newly inaugurated headquarters of the National Commission for Almajiri and Out-of-School Children (NCAOOSC) in Abuja.

Sununu said despite conflicting data on the number of out-of-school children, the Federal Government would see to it that the number was reduced to the barest minimum.

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According to him, reducing the number will enable us as a country to a have better literacy rate and the citizens can contribute meaningfully to the growth of the country.

“Data has been our challenge in this country but we have working data ranging from 10.2 million to 20 million out-of-school children.

“Whichever one, though we also have constraints of challenge as regards financial resources the work plan of the commission itself is huge.

“We will base our data on the Universal Basic Education Commission’s (UBEC) data of 10.2 million.

“We intend that in the next four years, we will be able to mop up 2.5 million children back to school, each year.

“And also hoping that in the next four years, we should be able to take all the out-of-school children in the country or 50 percent of the 20 million data,’’ he said.

The minister added that in reducing the number, stakeholders must work through a multifaceted and multi-dimensional approach to make history.

“We have fast-tracked our infrastructural development in many states and have also increased the number of classrooms to accommodate the number.

“We are also going to launch a radio station to assist the commission on periodic lessons.

“The issues of human resources for education have also been addressed as President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of more colleges of education to increase the number of teachers.,’’ he added.

Sununu noted that the ministry would be introducing incentives for students who desired to pursue education programmes in the colleges of education and universities.

He added that no almajiri school would be shut down but that a census would be taken to develop guidelines for reviewing curriculum in almajiri schools.

“We are going to make the almajiri schools better for the students and the teachers. We are going to integrate basic education into the schools to make it functional as a formal education setting,’’ he said.

He, therefore, warned that the ministry would not tolerate anyone who would want to serve as a bottleneck to the commission’s attainment of its mandate.

Meanwhile, Sha’aban Sharada, the executive secretary of NCAOOSC, said the commission would stick to its mandate of reversing the ugly trend of out-of-school children as well as transforming the almajiri education in the country.

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Sharada assured of living above board in ensuring effective delivery of the statutory mandate of the commission.

He urged stakeholders, religious, traditional and community leaders as well as civil society organisations to forge partnerships and develop comprehensive strategies to tackle the menace of out-of-school children.

He, therefore, commended former president Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the bill for the establishment of the commission and President Tinubu for the political will in ensuring the take-off of the commission.