The Ebonyi Government will on Monday, Aug. 19, launch an enrollment drive aimed at bringing out-of-school children back to school.
Chief Hyacinth Ikpo, the Ebonyi Universal Basic Education Board (EBSUBEB), chairman, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abakaliki, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Ikpo said that the enrollment campaign was in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Abuja and the World Bank.
He said that the Ebonyi Government was making every effort to ensure that all children of school age living in the state, but are not in school were taken back to school.
According to him, an uneducated child is a potential danger to the society, stressing that all efforts must be made to ensure that education was made not only accessible but also affordable to every citizen of the state.
EBSUBEB boss said that there was no accurate statistical data of the number of school-age children, who are out-of-school, but noted that government had set machinery in motion to come up with reliable statistics.
“We don’t have for now any reliable data of the number of out-of-school children in Ebonyi, but the government has mapped out programmes and strategies to know the number who are out-of-school and get them back to school.
“Part of the strategy is the setting up of committees at the 171 wards, local government and state levels.
“And part of the assignment of the committees especially at the ward level is to go from house to house, conduct census of the number of children in a particular household, how many are of school age, who are not in school.
“At the end of the exercise, we will be able to know how many children who are of school age, that are not in school and how to get them back to school.
“By Monday, Aug. 19, the state will officially launch the campaign against out-of-school syndrome in collaboration with UBEC and World Bank.
“As a responsible government, we will not spare any effort to ensure that we provide functional and qualitative education to all the citizens of the state”, Ikpo said.
He added that out-of-school children taken back to school would enjoy scholarships, free school feeding, uniforms and other incentives.
“Government on its own part has promised scholarships to all the out of school children who are taken back to school to complement the free and compulsory basic education policy in the state.
“Under the programme, the government will provide school uniforms, exercise books, textbooks as well as free school meals to the children,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a recent survey carried out by some educational institutions in the country indicate that there are more pre-school children out of school than those attending classes in Ebonyi.
This index was arrived at by the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2011) in collaboration with UNICEF and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Household Demographic Survey (NHDS 2013).
The Education Management Information System (EMIS) (2011) of the Ebonyi Ministry of Education also contributed to the survey.
According to the survey, only 43 per cent of Ebonyi pre-school children are currently attending any form of organised school system, while 57 per cent are out of school, following some existing negative factors impeding learning in the state.
Meanwhile, UNICEF’s 2018 reports, indicated that 10.5 million children are out-of-school in Nigeria, while one child in every five out-of-school children globally is from Nigeria.