Relevant stakeholders in the education sector have held a brainstorming session to come up with ideas to halt the increasing number of out-of-school children in the country.
The 2-in-1 event which featured the flag off ceremony of the National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC) and the BESDA Technical Meeting Between The Minister of Education and the 17 focus states held on November 18, 2021 in Abuja.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that the worrisome state of insecurity in the country is traced to reduced school enrollment rate which is a ripple effect of mismanagement of funds allocated to education.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba who chaired the event stated that the development of any nation was hinged on the quality of the educational system.
He added that no nation can rise above the standard and quality of its educational system. Hence, if education is weak and dysfunctional, the development of the society will also be weak and dysfunctional.
In agreement with this, the Minister lamented that, despite the recent efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to address the menace of the Out-of-School Children, Nigeria was still battling with one of the highest number of Out-of-School Children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Adamu posited that the situation was occasioned by lack of access to basic education, poor infrastructure, lack of adequate and qualified teachers as well as beliefs that were alien to both our culture and religion.
Disclosing some of the progress recorded by government effort so far, the Minister said:
“The effort is what gave birth to the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) progamme. The programme is funded by a 611 million Dollars which is a credit to the Federal Government but grant to states.
“The cardinal objective of this programme is to increase equitable access for Out-of-School Children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results at the Basic Education level in the focus states.
“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. The selection of these States was based on the prevalence of the number of Out-of-School Children.
“I am aware that since inception, the BESDA Programme has successfully enrolled 924,590 out of the previous figures of 10,193,918 Out-of School Children in Nigeria. I can say authoritatively that the figures have dropped significantly to 9,269,328”, said the Education Boss.
Speaking on the achievements recorded from the 5year program so far, the BESDA program coordinator, Hajiya Amina Buba Haruna noted that there had been improved literacy rate in the country as Borno state recorded the highest reduction in number of out of school children (284, 141) while Rivers State recorded the highest literacy rate (71%).
The Minister of State for Education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba urged the participants to take the battle against illiteracy to the smallest ward in their states. He encouraged them to get the traditional leaders involved and reward those who enroll the highest number of children.
Conversely, The Executive Director, National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC), Dr. Benjamin Abakpa during the flag off of the Commission stated that the NSSEC was poised at equipping the nation’s senior secondary school students with quality knowledge grounded in life skills for global competitiveness.
Other dignitaries present at the meeting included: the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono, Director of Basic Education, Dr. Olatunji, BESDA National Programme Coordinator, Prof. Gidado Tahir, Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, Commissioners of Education from different states of the Federation, among others.