Nigeria cuts back on number of out-of-school children to 6.95 million from 10.1 million
Nigeria currently has about 6.95 million children out of school by the end of 2019, representing a decline from 10.1 million previously, according to the minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
Adamu, who spoke at the annual Ministerial press briefing on the ministry’s activities in 2020, attributed the development to the number of measures undertaken by the government to ensure increment in enrollment of children.
“As of today, we have recorded impressive school enrolment figures in 17 states of the federation where BESDA is being implemented.
“I can however tell you that through the BESDA initiative, we have reduced the figure of out-of-school children from 10.1 million since May last year down to 6,946,328,” the minister said.
He said, so far, the ministry of education has launched BESDA in ten states namely: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Ebonyi, Kano, Kebbi, Oyo, Yobe, Niger, and Zamfara.
He said the government deployed the $611 million secured through the World Bank credit facility to support Universal Basic Education (UBE) to good use through massive enrollment of out-of-school children in 17 states.
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The minister said that efforts of the National Association of Proprietors and School Owners of Nigeria (NAPSON) alone saw to the enrollment of one million children.
He also noted that 900,000 Nigerians were “taken off the shelve” of adult illiterates in 2020.
The minister said more out-of-school children would be enrolled in school in 2021 as additional credit facility of $500 million has been secured from the World Bank to drive the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) programme, to ensure girls were taken off the streets, trained and empowered to live normal and quality lives.
“A total of N1.3 trillion has been committed to capital expenditure in our tertiary institutions. In the last one year, TETFund has committed a total of N395,032,375.00 to the development of infrastructure in tertiary institutions. This is aside other budgetary allocations and revitalisation funds to universities.
“The last five years have witnessed massive investment in capital projects in tertiary institutions totalling approximately N1.7 trillion in tertiary institutions with the universities taking two thirds of the total sum.
“On the contrary, and sadly too, there has been no reciprocal appreciation of governments efforts in tertiary institutions by workers in the sub sector, particularly the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“In order to ensure industrial harmony in tertiary institutions and uninterrupted academic calendar, the federal government is to intensify the renegotiation of the 2009/2010 agreement, the Memorandum of Understanding and Memorandum of Action with a view to bringing all negotiations to a successful completion in 2021.
“I cannot assure Nigerians that the current pandemic or the prolonged ASUU strike will be the last. As a nation, we have to think outside the box to ensure that we are not caught napping in an event of the deterioration of the current pandemic or the next ASUU strike.
“A national working committee working in collaboration with UNICEF has been constituted. A grant has been obtained from the Global Partnership for Education to build a national education cloud to warehouse educational resource materials. “Upon the inauguration of this facility, hopefully in the next six months, time and space will no longer be a hindrance to learning,” he said.