BESDA: Out-of-School Children Has Dropped To 9.3m, FG Says

BESDA: Out-of-School Children Has Dropped To 9.3m, FG Says

The Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has stated that since the inception of the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), it has successfully enrolled 924,590 out of the previous figures of 10,193,918 making the number of out-of school children in Nigeria drop to 9,269,328.

BESDA is funded by $611 million from World Bank with the aim to increase equitable access for out-of-school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results at the basic education level.

Nwajiuba who represented the Minister of Education, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, spoke, on recently, in Abuja, during the BESDA technical meeting between the ministry and the 17 focus states, an event which also coincided with the flag-off ceremony of the National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC).

The minister said the programme focuses on 17 States in the country which includes the entire 13 States of the North West and North East geo-political zones, Niger, Oyo, Ebonyi and Rivers States.

He added that the selection of these states was based on the prevalence of the number of Out-of-School Children.

The minister however lamented that while the nation is making  efforts to reduce the numbers, more and more children are joining the queue and expressed the need to intensify efforts towards addressing the challenges of the out-of-school children by ensuring that they are in school and learning.

“It is in view of this that we are gathered here today to brainstorm and come up with new strategies that would ensure effective implementation as well as Monitoring and Evaluation of the BESDA programme,” he said.

On the 13 million figure adopted by the World Bank, Nwajiuba queried  the projected figure as a basis for launching the programme across the country.

He added that the projected 13 million out-of-school figure presented in 2017 was not sufficient enough to determine actual number of enrolments from across the states.

 “When I came into office in 2019, I said this programme sounds like an official wayo business, they said what do I mean, I said my first degree in law, the 2nd and 3rd is law. So I asked them; you have a cast number, somebody said Nigeria has 13 million out-of-school children and that was done in 2013.

“The World Bank said they had projected the population of Nigeria to be X, Y, Z and that at the time they made the projection, they had counted the number of schools in Nigeria and the numbers of children that are there and they had done the mathematics and minus it from the number in school from the one they expected that they would have born and they said the minus is the result,” he said.

The Minister enquired further on the system’s capacity on verification of claims by states presenting pupils for enrolment asking if there was any National enrolment Identity Number.

I“How do you know the sex of the child presented for enrolment? Is there an enrolment national identity number that you can give to these children when they are been enrolled? The World Bank says no, then I said I am not agreeing that we have to restructure the programme,” he said.

Nwajiuba pointedly emphasised that every state that registers any pupil/student on the scheme must register the person with a national identity number so as to effectively track the progress of the child under the BESDA project.

He stressed that Nigeria must get it right in its education sector, saying this could only be achieved by setting the nation’s basic education sector on the right path.

Nwajiuba added that the security and stability of Nigeria are hinged on the ability to provide functional education to the citizens.

Addressing the meeting on BESDA programme so far, the Federal Ministry of Education -BESDA Coordinator Hajia Amina Haruna said the programme which is the P for R project, that is the Programme for Result, has been progressive and recording results on the decrease of the Out-of-School Children in the focal states.

She further confirmed that for every state that enrols a girl child in the basic school, the sum of 100 dollars will be given while on enrolment of a boy in the school, the sum of 80dollars will be given.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, NSSEC, Dr Benjamin Abakpa, commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu for taking the bull by the horns in removing bottlenecks hindering the takeoff of the Commission.

He said the NSSEC vision statement centres around equipping our senior secondary school students with quality knowledge grounded in life skills for global competitiveness.

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BESDAChukwuemeka NwajiubaMalam Adamu Adamu