Worried over the increased rate of out of school children in Northern Nigeria, about 9 Emirs from the two critical zones in North-West and North-East regions are set to sign a ‘Commitment for action’ to take quick action in addressing the menace of children not in school.
Speaking during the pre-conference event organised by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Abuja on Thursday, the Emir of Argugu, Kebbi State, Samaila Mera, noted that the meeting has become necessary following the increased rate of about 10.5 million Nigerian children presently not in school.
The Emir said that the meeting which is being organised by UNICEF, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development is seeking the support of traditional rulers in northern Nigeria to end the issue of children roaming the streets.
“Each of the participating Emirs will sign a “Commitment for Action”, signifying his commitment to ensuring that all children out of school within his emirate council are reached and enrolled in school,” the emir said.
On his part, UBEC representative, Bello Kagara, who is the Director of Social Mobilisation at the commission, said that involving traditional rulers who are the custodians of tradition will play a big role in changing the negative issues.
He blamed socio-cultural and economic barriers as bottlenecks to the educational success for girls and boys in northern Nigeria.
“The reason why more children are out of school in northern Nigeria are varied and rooted in the socio-cultural and economic environment barriers and bottlenecks to the educational success of boys and girls,” he stated.
He listed the barriers to include the cost of living, poverty and negative perceptions to formal education, adding that the factors influence the educational choices parents make in the region.
Earlier, UNICEF Education Chief in Nigeria, Terry Durnian, lamented that the education system is challenged with poor supply of sufficient infrastructure learning materials and teachers.
While calling on the Federal Government to invest more in the education sector, Durnian added that the combination of the challenges contributes significantly to the huge number of children missing out on education in Nigeria.
He added that the conference is looking at the issues and what can be done to make change, reaffirming that UNICEF will continue to look for the welfare of children as its core mandate.
The conference which will take place in Kaduna on October 10 and 11, 2018 seeks the commitment of traditional leaders in northern Nigeria to support mass sensitisation campaigns at all levels to increase demand for access to education and quality learning.