Education Minister Declares Out-of-school Children A National Prority

Education Minister Declares Out-of-school Children A National Prority

By Chika Mefor-Nwachukwu

The Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba has said that returning  every child in the country back to school as a national priority which every stake holder must take seriously.

The Minister who stated the on Thursday in his keynote address at the National Campaign on out-of-school children in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, said, no nation can make meaningful progress with a high number of its youths as illiterates.

He added that the high number of  out-of-school children is inimical to the growth and development of any nation and maintained that the Federal Ministry of education is determined to ensure that all children of school age who are out of school are returned and retained to complete their basic and secondary education and possibly transit to tertiary institutions.

The Minister called for synergy amongst stakeholders especially communities where these children exist to ensure that they are given the necessary support to achieve education, adding that this is the only way we can achieve a better, reliable,  developed and peaceful society.

Nwajiuba appealed to good spirited individuals and groups to take responsibility for the education of these children, especially for the orphaned who have no one to carter for their educational needs.

The minister also called on State governments to upscale their efforts in supporting the Federal Government in the task of educating these children, adding that education is a collective responsibility.

The minister also expressed pain over the remaining 14 students who were abducted at the Federal Government College Birni Yauri sometime last year, calling on all hands to remain on deck for the release of the remaining children. 

“My heart and soul are with all Nigerian Children who are still in captivity. I stand with the parents in the circumstance. Government will continue to do all it can to free our children who are being held for what they know nothing about,” he said.

In his address at the event, Kebbi State Governor,  Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Babale Umar Yauri said, the state is fully committed to eradicating the out of School Children phenomenal. 

He said  that Kebbi State has approximately 900,000  out of school children adding that he has committed over N15.5 billion towards the construction of 552 classroom blocks, boleholes,  toilets and furniture for the course of out-of-school children in the state .

The governor added that  through series of interventions,the state has put in place a number of strategies, including sensitization and massive enrollment drive as well as the provision of necessary and adequate infrastructure.

 He revealed that 42 nomadic schools have been constructed to provide access to quality education for the children of nomads and migrant fishermen. The Governor said 167 basic literacy centers have been established for the purpose of integrating Almajiris into formal education adding that 167 basic literacy centers have been established for Adult and Non Formal education across the 21 Local governments.

In his welcome remarks,Chairman of Kebbi State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), Prof. Akpama Simon Ibor indicated that Kebbi State is determined to bring back to school, over 500,000 out of school children within the next two years, adding that over 9000 facilitators are being engaged to handle the program. 

Akpama  revealed that his commission is currently sponsoring a literacy by Radio program, engaging ruler literacy facilitators,providing teaching and learning materials to non formal learning centers as well as skills acquisition materials for ruler women.