Nigeria’s out-of-school children now 11.4 million –FG •Develops 4-year roadmap to revitalise education

THE Federal Government has revealed that the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria has increased from 10.5 million to over 11.4 million as a result of insurgency in the northeastern part of the country.

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, disclosed this at the presentation of the education sector roadmap, ‘Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan 2016-2019’.

He said his ministry undertook the development of the Ministerial Strategic Plan in order to reposition Nigeria’s education sector to play a central role in the philosophy of positive change of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Adamu said the Federal Government is concerned about the numerous challenges confronting the sector, and that the draft roadmap presented to stakeholders for their inputs was designed to reposition the sector and lead to increased prosperity and competitiveness of Nigeria.

“With 11.4 million out-of-school children out of the 20 million worldwide, Nigeria has the highest number of school age children out of school in the world. These include the girl-child, almajiri child, children of nomadic pastoralists and migrant fishermen, and more recently, the children displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency,” the minister noted.

He added that the Federal Government would come up with more effective strategies for engaging with state governments in addressing the problem of escalating number of out-of-school children, including where necessary the use of targeted funding that deliberately addresses the factors of exclusion.

According to him, the roadmap being developed is built on 10 pillars based on the core strategic and measurable goals that need to be attained.

The 10 pillars are: addressing the out-of-school children crisis; strengthening basic and secondary school education; teacher education involving capacity building and professional development; adult literacy and special needs education; education data and planning; as well as curriculum and benchmark minimum academic standard.

Other areas include technical and vocational education and training (TVET); quality assurance and access in higher education; information and communication technology in education; and library services in education.

“The plan envisages that if these pillars are addressed in accordance with outlined objectives, the education system in our country will not only address the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens, but will also be globally competitive,” Adamu said.

He said specifically that the strategic plan of the government is to mop up all the 11.4 million out-of-school children from the streets in the next four years by raising the national Net Enrolment Rate (NER) to ensure that all of them are enrolled in basic schools.

In order to achieve this target, he said government plans to enrol 2,875,000 pupils annually for the next four years.