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UNESCO, POWA to reduce out-of-school children by 500,000 yearly

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Nigerian School Children

Nigerian School Children

The UNESCO Read and Earn programme, in synergy with the Police Officers Wives Association (POWA), have begun working towards reducing the number of out-of-children in the country by 500,000 annually for the next five years.

President General of the UNESCO Read and Earn programme, Abdulsalami Ladigbolu, in a statement made available to The Guardian said that the projections were part of the “Project V,” which is designed to complement efforts being made by the Nigerian
government to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country.

Currently, the number of children that are out-of-school in the country stands at over 10 million. The UNESCO programme is planned to reduce the figure by 25 per cent, and to prevent future occurrences.

The project, which hopes to return 500,000 children yearly back to the classroom within its first five years, that is “from 2017 to 2021, also hopes to address factors that contribute to children dropping out of school, such as poverty, which is a major factor, to the significant proportion of children not completing the basic education cycle in Nigeria,” the statement read.

According to Ladigbolu, other consequential factors that have kept some children out of school are child labour and its attendant effects, socio/cultural environment and lack of mentors, as well as
emergencies.

President of POWA, Asmau Ndayaku Idris, described the project as important to her organisation because the issue needs an urgent attention.

“If we don’t pay attention to this population now, they may become hoodlums with problems associated with crime, which pose a significant threat to the security of the nation,” she stated, adding that it is also “one of the ways that POWA is keeping to its mandate to assist our husbands because if we don’t assist the stakeholders to address the menace now, it’s like sitting on a keg of gun powder,” she said.

The UNESCO Read and Earn programme is also partnering the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) to reduce unemployment.

The programme tagged, “The August Project,” is aimed at building the capacity of 200, 000 youths across the federation (within a period of 10 years starting from 2017) in areas such as ICT, fashion design, entertainment, tourism and quality leadership among others.



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