We have reduced out-of-school children to 10.1m ― FG
justifies postponement of common entrance exams
THE Federal Government has said that it has successfully reduced the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria to 10.1 million.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who made this known on Thursday in Abuja, faulted recent media reports that the country has over 13.5 million school-age children that are not in school.
Speaking at the 12th of the ministerial press briefing on the out-of-school children phenomenon, Adamu said this high number of out-of-school children was as a result of lack of political will by successive administrations to deal with the challenge.
He said it was a sad commentary on the nation’s history that in the 21st century, Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa and perhaps in the world, ranked only second to Pakistan.
He revealed that most endemic states of the out-of-school children include; Kano, Akwa Ibom, Katsina, Kaduna, Taraba, Sokoto. Others are Yobe, Zamfara, Oyo, Benue Jigawa and Ebonyi.
He said since the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, one of the preoccupation was how to deal with the phenomenon.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Sonny Echono, said based on the recently conducted National Personnel Audit of both Public and Private schools, Nigeria now has an estimated out-of-school children population of 10.193,918.
He said reasons that have been adduced for this unfortunate phenomenon include, though, not limited to financial incapacitation, violent conflicts, ignorance on the part of parents/guardian, lack of political will to confront the ugly phenomenon, socio-cultural complexities, distance to schools, physically challenged children, child labour, migration and orphanage.
He said the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) is being refocused for proper intervention in basic education in Nigeria.
Adamu said: This administration also embarked on the school feeding programme in some states of the federation. It is now clear that the programme has led to an unprecedented increase in school enrolment.
“I want to assure you that by the time we complete this year’s school census exercise, the number of out of school children would have dropped significantly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malam Adamu Adamu explained that the postponement by two weeks of the scheduled National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) originally billed to hold on Saturday, 13th April 2019 was based on a request by some states.
The new date for the examination is now Saturday, 27th April 2019.
He said: “Regrettable as it were, the postponement has become necessary due to a request from over seven states of the Federation who have asked for an extension of time to enable them to enrol more candidates.”
He said it was on record that some of the states have less than 200 applicants who have enrolled for the examination, adding that such states might not be able to fill their quota if they are not given the opportunity to enrol more candidates.
He noted that the website for registration would be closed on the 25th of April, 2019, two days to the examination.
Adamu, however, said candidates would be allowed to register on the day of the examination, provided they have made payment and obtained their PIN on or before 25th April 2019.