No nation can rise above its educational development — Education minister

Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has said no nation can rise above its educational development.

His statement is coming on the heels of a report by the United Nations Emergency Fund (UNICEF) that Nigeria is currently the leading nation globally in out-of-school children.

The minister made the statement during the flag-off ceremony of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt, last week.

He said the report made it imperative for the country to structure the educational system for children to become responsible citizens and bring about national development.

Nwajiuba said for Nigeria to address its challenges adequately, the country must strengthen the quality of basic education.

According to the minister, the cardinal objective of the programme was to increase equitable access for out-of-school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results in the basic education level in all our focus states.

He expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for providing credit support of $611 million to 17 states targeted to uplift education in Nigeria.

He also congratulated the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, on the developmental strides of his administration to position the state in the rightful place for global and national competitiveness.

In his remarks, Governor Wike stated that government at all levels must synergise efforts to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country.

Represented by his deputy, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said a survey conducted by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), indicated that the population of the out-of-school children in Nigeria had risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world.

According to the governor, “most of these children are in Nigeria’s northern states – Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Zamfara, where Boko Haram and bandits have held, besieged and disrupted normal academic activities. These terrorists who believe that “education is evil” have destroyed several schools’ facilities and kidnapped hundreds of students which had resulted in the closure of many schools in those states.”

The governor who said the education policy thrust of the state was on course, revealed that many tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools have been rehabilitated and equipped, noted that the number of out-of-school children which was 110,654, had reduced to 36,015, which is 32 per cent reduction success.

He noted that there had been a few cases of cultism-related and communal crises in some parts of Rivers State which had sacked some communities and rendered indigenes refugees, saying that in the previous month, the state government approved N400 million for the resettlement of Ekporo community in Eleme Loval Government Area of the state.

He expressed the hope that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Humanitarian and Emergency Services, would look in the direction of the state as it is being done in other parts of the country in the spirit of national unity, adding that some coastal communities are also prone to regular flooding.

“It is no more a secret to say that the “Almajiris” and illegal Fulani immigrants are major sources of recruitment for Boko Haram. It was against this background that the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in December, 2010 embarked on the Almajiri Education programme, which led to the construction and equipment of 157 (Tsangaya) Almajiri Model Schools in parts of the country. Unfortunately, these schools have been abandoned and left to rot obviously for political reason”. The Governor stressed.

He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and the Minister of State for Education Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba for coming to flag off the BESDA in Port Harcourt.



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