Bauchi celebrates 2019 African Child Day as UNICEF laments 10.5m out-of-school children

to mobilise youths for advocacy campaign to reduce rate

Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir has joined in the celebration of the 2019 Day of the African Child organised in conjunction with the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) which expressed worries over the alarming rate of out of school children in Nigeria put at about 10.5m.

In order to check the out-of-school children menace, UNICEF has therefore declared that it will mobilise youths in 14 States of the country, including the FCT to embark on an advocacy campaign aimed at reducing the increasing rate of the syndrome.

This was stated by the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, Mr Bhanu Pathak in a goodwill message during a one day Youth Advocacy and Mobilisation workshop as part of activities marking the Day of the African Child, organised by the State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB) in collaboration with the High Level Women Advocacy, (HILWA) in collaboration with UNICEF with the theme ‘Increased Access to Safe and Quality Education for Every Nigerian Child, Especially Girls’ held at Zaranda Hotel in Bauchi.

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Bhanu Pathak who was represented by the Education Specialist, Bauchi Field Office of UNICEF, Miriam Dikwa, said that the mobilisation advocacy efforts are planned to run throughout the year, targeting national and international events as windows for mobilisation, targeted advocacy and campaigns.

He added that strategic encasements would be organised between youths and targeted policy makers and high influential persons in the society in order to get the government to act on their commitment for increased access to safe and quality education for children.

The UNICEF Chief stressed that: “The advocacy campaign is targeted to all the new elected government officials at all levels in order to hold them accountable on their campaign promises to provide equitable access to free, safe, quality education to every child, especially the girl in Nigeria.”

He lamented that “Out of the over 10 million out of school children, Bauchi state has 1.2 million of the figure. 60 per cent of girls in the country are out of school, So many girls are being denied access to education, our efforts should be targeted to ensure that we have increased budgetary allocation for the basic education, making sure that all barriers that hinder girls to enrol, retain and complete school is removed.”

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Muhammad assured that his administration will do everything possible to ensure that children especially Girls get educated stressing that part of his priorities is to improve on the standard and quality of education in the state.

The Governor who was elated to be part of the Day of the African Child celebration said that very soon a roadmap for improvement in the education system of the state will be developed and will be meticulously implemented.

In his remarks, State Team Lead, Northern Education Initiative plus, (NEI+), Mustapha Ahmed said the NEIplus is targeting no fewer than 2 million out of school children in the country for enrolment back to school.

He added that the organization has so far succeeded in mobbing up 94,000 out of school children back to the school system and established rehabilitation centres for youths through formal learning assuring that the target will be met before the program winds.