The minister of state for Education, Mr Chukuemeka Nwajiuba, on Thursday, said Nigeria has over 10 million out-of-school children, the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nwajiuba made this known at the launching of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) by the Jigawa Government in Dutse.
“With an estimated 10,193,918 children out-of-school, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“For us to address these challenges adequately, therefore, we must strengthen the quality of basic education in Nigeria by confronting head-on those factors that deny our children access to basic education,” the minister said.
The minister urged stakeholders to strengthen the quality of education by addressing factors that denied children access to basic education.
He noted that the current challenges affecting the educational system in the country have left much to be desired.
According to him, the BESDA programme is designed to better life for all children with the aim of increasing equitable access for out-of-school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results at the basic education level in the focus states.
Nwajiuba reiterated that the programme focuses on 17 states, which include the entire 13 states of the North West and North East geographical zones as well Niger, Oyo, Ebonyi and Rivers.
He said that the selection of the states was based on the prevalence of the number of out-of-school children in the country.
“Permit me to state here that the BESDA programme became effective on Jan. 22, 2018, with the commencement of implementation processes at the federal level.
“All key activities at the federal level to kick start implementation of the programme by focus states have been concluded.
“Each beneficiary state is, therefore, expected to commence implementation in line with the specific steps and guidelines provided under the programme.
“You will agree with me that there is nothing to cheer about if a single child is out of school, instead of being in the classroom learning.
“So it is in this regard that ensuring the out of school children are back to school and learning.
“Learning is not only a moral and legal obligation but also a productive investment that will guarantee the future of our children and ensure that their rights are protected as enshrined in the Child’s Right Act of 2003,” the minister said.
Recall that on 21 January 2021, The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said that the number of out-of-school children has reduced from 10.1million in 2019 to 6.95 million in 2020.