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UNICEF blames politicians over increasing out-of-school children in Nigeria

…Says 69% of out-of-school children in Nigeria from Northern Nigeria
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said that the high rate of Illiteracy, increase in out-of-school children in Nigeria is politically motivated.

Speaking during a two-day day media dialogue to promote equity in education for children in Nigeria, UNICEF Education Specialist, Mrs. Azuka Menkiti, lamented that governance in Nigeria has become a circle of family business where politicians secure the future of their children to the detriment of poor Nigerians.

Speaking on the topic: “Gaps in Education Access in Nigeria: a situation analysis and what UNICEF is doing,” Menkiti also attributed inadequacy of funding, lack of teaching tools and modern classrooms, poor numerations and the acute shortage of qualified teachers as factors leading to the fall in the standard of education in Nigeria.

She also said that the Multiple Indication Cluster Survey report for 2016 (MICS 2016) had revealed that out of the 11.5 million of out-of-school children in Nigeria, Northern states have the highest rate with an average of 69%.

“The latest data MICS 2016 shows that out of the 11.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, 7.5.million (69%) are from the Northern part of the country. North east has the largest numbers of out-of-school children followed by the North West.

“With this number, Nigeria accounts for more than 1 in 5 number of out-of-school children globally and 45% of this number are from West Africa. Within the huge number of the out-of-school children, girls are the majority especially in Northern Nigeria.

“Education indicators for Northern Nigeria are different from the Southern part of the country,” Menkiti said.

She added that the recent security threats to schools in North east Nigeria as well as other parts of the country has contributed significantly to the low and access to education especially for girls in the country.

Earlier, Deputy Director/Head Child Rights Information Bureau, Mr. Olumide Osanyinpeju, said Nigeria’s future prosperity depends on producing children who are well prepared to take their right place in the society.

He lamented that unfortunately, a large number of Nigerian children are at risk of deprivations of the basic social amenities.

He said: “Most of these children are situated in the rural and hard to reach communities. Majority of them are living in conflict and communities under emergencies, and it has been difficult talking basic amenities to them.

“However, effort have been made by government at bridging the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged groups in the country in the areas of provision of adequate infrastructure and facilities for the disadvantaged groups and hard to reach communities. Government have come to realisation that basic education is an infringement on the rights of the child.

“All children have the right to better life, an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potentials without discrimination, bias or favouritism cannot be over emphasized.

“There is a growing evidence that investing in education and protection of the most disadvantaged/vulnerable citizens in education, in this case, children and addressing inequality will ensure sustained growth and stability of any nation

“There is need to integrate children, especially those in difficult terrain and other excluded children and focus on equitable distribution of opportunities now as it is a giant stride towards the realisation of the human rights of children”.

On his part, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, UNICEF Communication Specialist, said that if urgent steps are not put in place, “with the 13 million of out-of-chool children in five years time, we will have the population that can overthrow the educated”.

The programme is supported by the Child Rights International Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

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