Gov Yahaya launches campaign to reduce out-of-school children in Gombe

Gov Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State on Wednesday launched a campaign to address the menace of out-of-school children.

NAN reports that the  Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB) said as at June, the board received a report that there are over 450, 000 out of school children in the state.

The UNICEF, however, said it could be higher than that.

The event, which held in Malam-Sidi town in Kwami local government area of Gombe, is under the Better Education Service Delivery for All, BESDA for Gombe State.

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BESDA is a World Bank/Federal Government-funded project, targeting at mopping up out-of-school Children and getting them back to classes in collaboration with the state government.

In his speech at the launch of the programme, Yahaya said the event should be a moment of sober reflection and an opportunity to re-think on ways of correcting the menace which he said had caused the state some embarrassments.

He reiterated that the focus of his administration was to provide basic education for the people of the state, adding that education remains the key to reforming society.

The governor pledged to provide school materials as well as feeding to pupils, adding that “ there should be no excuse for any child to be on the street.”

He, therefore, challenged the traditional rulers to seat up to their responsibilities in this regard, adding that the failure of which could result in severe consequences on society.

Dr Abdullahi Ahmed, the state coordinator, BESDA said any “investment in knowledge gives good returns and such investment is key to the state government.”

Ahmed pledged that BESDA under his leadership would give1 Gombe State the best education project to mop up out-of-school children and improve school literacy.

On his part, Mr Babaji Babadidi, the chairman of Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) said it is through quality education that poverty could be reduced in the state.

According to Babadidi, there is no substitute for qualitative education.

“ With over 574, 000 out-of-school children in Gombe State, if serious actions are not taken, Gombe may become the headquarters of out-of-school in the world,” he warned.

While attributing the increase in out-of-school children in the country to poverty, socio-cultural beliefs and insurgency, the Gombe SUBEB boss appealed for more supports from major stakeholders in the sector.

Dr Bhanu Patak, the Head of Bauchi Field Office, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Nigeria remained a turning point in Africa.

“ If Nigeria is not changed, Africa will not change. The number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is more than the population of Togo, Benin and some countries.

“ So UNICEF has decided to go from house-to-house in Gombe State to reduce the statistics and improve school enrolment.

“While going around, we will collect data on the reasons for the high statistics and with that, we will make analysis so as to address the issue.

“ It is hoped that in the next two or three years Gombe State will be declared free of this menace,” he said.

He added that UNICEF had trained several teachers in the state as a way of improving the quality of education and building the teachers’ capacities to improving the educational sector.

Dr Hamid Bobboyi, the Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission called on all stakeholders to do more in carrying out massive sensitisation campaigns on the importance of education to reduce the menace.

Bobboyi, represented by the commission’s North East Director, Alhaji Umar Jidda, said the government was concerned about addressing the 10.3 million out-of-school children in the country.

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