Federal Government earmarks N10b to tackle out-of-school children
The Federal Government said it has committed N10billion to remove 10.2 million out-of-school children from streets in the next five years.
The government said it hopes to achieve the target by enrolling two million children yearly in the next five years.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu disclosed this during the unveiling of “Education sector short and medium term blueprint/work plan on the implementation of education for change: A ministerial strategic plan”.
The two-day retreat was attended by commissioners of education, permanent secretaries, chairpersons of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), directors, heads of parastatals and agencies in the sector.
According to the document, by the end of 2020, about N3 billion would have been committed by 19 states, outside the intervention of the Federal Government to ensure the enrollment of over two million school age children who are not in school.
The document also showed that states are expected to commit another N2.4 billion in 2021, N2 billion in 2022, N1.5 billion in 2023 and N1.1 billion in 2024 respectively towards addressing the problem.
Adamu said government would embark on sensitisation of traditional rulers and religious leaders on the need to inform their communities of the benefits of formal education.
The minister also said there will be ‘crackdown’ on substandard primary and secondary schools across the country.
Nigeria presently has over 10 million out-of-school children and 60 per cent of that number are girls, many of whom enrol in school but drop out along the line.
The budgetary allocation to the education sector in Nigeria is lower than the 20 per cent recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to enable nations adequately cater to rising education demands.
However, Adamu apologised for his inability to reduce the number of out-of-school children during his first tenure.
He appealed to lawmakers to increase allocation to the education sector while urging state governors to invest more in basic education.
The minister also advised state governors to be prompt in providing matching grants to access the Federal Government’s interventions through UBEC.
President Muhammadu Buhari had proposed a capital expenditure of N48 billion for the Ministry of Education in the 2020 appropriation bill recently presented to the National Assembly. Buhari also proposed N112 billion for UBEC.
The N48 billion proposed for capital expenditure for the education ministry for 2020 is lower than the N61.7 billion in 2018 and N56 billion for the sector in 2017.
However, it is slightly higher than the capital expenditure of N47.2 billion in 2019.
There is also an increase in UBEC allocation for 2020, compared to 2017 and 2018. In 2018, the budget was N109.06 billion and N95 billion in 2017.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, urged all the state commissioners at the meeting to take the action plan contained in the document seriously.
He said the 2018 national personnel audit of primary schools in Nigeria showed that 10.2 million children were out-of-school.
“Following the various Federal Government intervention programmes aimed at reducing the rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria by two million every year for the next five years, the estimated out-of-school children at the end of the five years would be 193,918.
“The above followed the assumption that there would no new out-of-school children in these five years. All the children of school age will automatically enrol in school, following the compulsory years of schooling as enshrined in the UBEC act,” he said.
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