60% of out-of-school children are girls –UBEC • Introduces cluster learning centres for girl-child

THE executive secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi, has disclosed that 60 per cent of the over 10.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls.

He said the commission would soon set up Cluster Learning Centres for the Girl Child (CCLCGs) as part of efforts towards addressing and paving way for improved and inclusive basic education delivery across the country.

Bobboyi spoke at a roundtable convened for the development of a framework for the proposed CCLCG intervention.

He said the roundtable came on the heels of renewed calls for strategic focus on the education of the girl-child, which according to him accounts for 60 per cent of all out-of-school children in Nigeria.

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He noted that the cluster learning centres would increase access and quality of basic education delivery for the girl-child, especially in the northern states.

While declaring the two-day exercise open, UBEC executive secretary, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, represented by UBEC director, teacher development, Mallam Unwaha Ismaila, emphasised the importance of developing a framework as an additional incentive towards tackling challenges associated with the out-of-school challenge.

He pledged the Federal Government’s readiness to continue to implement programmes that would increase access and ensure equity, especially for the girl- child.

He expressed optimism that the various scholars and resource persons invited to the roundtable would develop a workable document that could be readily implemented at all levels towards improving girls’ education in Nigeria.

At the opening session of the roundtable, participants noted that the challenge of out-of-school children was a recurring decimal with the girl-child bearing the larger brunt of this challenge.

They commended UBEC for the proposed CCLCG initiative and urged states to scale up strategies and approaches that focus on the acquisition of literacy, numeracy and, importantly, the acquisition of relevant skills.

UBEC director of special programmes, Alhaji Hassan D. Umar, in his welcome remarks observed that the roundtable was being convened as part of measures geared towards addressing the menace of out-of-school girls which contribute to the poverty, hunger and disease in our communities.

The roundtable is expected to among other things, articulate the concept of Cluster Community Learning Centers for Girls (CCLCGs) in the Nigeria context, come up with a framework and modalities for operationalising such especially in areas where the challenge of out-of-school children are endemic as well as make recommendations that would guarantee success of the proposed initiative in Nigeria.

…AFED expresses concern

Tunbosun Ogindare | Lagos

 

OPERATORS of low fees’ charging schools in Nigeria have expressed worry over the increasing number of out-of-school children, saying the situation would need to be addressed fast if government hopes to tackle the various socio-economic problems, especially youth unemployment and insecurity, confronting the country.

The school owners, on the platform of Association of Formidable Educational Development (AFED), said this on Monday in Lagos while briefing newsmen on the highlights of its two-day forthcoming maiden edition of African Education Conference to be held at the University of Lagos, Akoka, starting from Thursday, July 25.

Addressing newsmen, the national president of AFED, Mr Emmanuel Orji, said the 10.5 million estimated out-of-schools children in the country was too high and unacceptable, noting that the figure is more than the entire population of many countries in and outside Africa, including Gabon.

Naming, among others Professor Pat Utomi (a political economist and politician), Mr Femi Falana (a lawyer and human rights activist,) and Mrs Folasade Adefisayo (former chief executive officer, Corona Schools) as some of the lead speakers billed for the conference, with the theme ‘The SDGs Educational Target: Facts and Fictions’, he said: “government across levels in the country would need to genuinely commit adequate resources to tackle the out-of-school children challenge while local and international humanitarian organisations including the United Nations should lend meaningful supports to the cause.”

He explained that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which borders on building responsible citizens through education by ensuring that all school-going age children (boys and girls) complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education by 2030, is seriously being threatened in Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, government cannot single-handedly achieve these objectives, more so that school-age population and government’s responsibilities keep increasing.

“That is why it is necessary for organisations like United Nations to reconsider its stance in partnering only the state-owned and managed schools to achieve the SDG 4. Non-state actors like AFED, no doubt, can do even more in this regard.

“We’re the ones who provide quality education to children of low-income members of the society, who are very large in population. Our contributions to educational development and also to the achievement of SDG 4 in Nigeria are very important to achieve the target,” he said.

 

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