UNICEF Urges Governments to Improve School Infrastructure and Safety to Reduce Out-of-School Children

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By Tasi’u Hassan

The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Bauchi, Dr. Tusher Rane, urged authorities to ensure the safety of schools to address the problem of out-of-school children in the country.

Dr. Tusher Rane made the request during a two-day Regional Stakeholders Engagement Meeting on Out-of-School Children and the Retention, Transition, and Completion Models in Gombe, Adamawa, and Bauchi states, held in Gombe recently.

The UNICEF Chief of Field Office Bauchi noted that ensuring school safety and the provision of infrastructure by the stakeholders would improve enrollment, retention, transition and completion of education for all Children.

He also expressed happiness with the recent inauguration of the first batch of master trainers on school safety and safety norms in Bauchi and Gombe States, saying it is high time stakeholders began to reflect on some of the good practices and policies of other states for better outcomes.

Speaking on the realities of Out of out-of-school children in Nigeria, the Education Specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Àbdulrahman Ibrahim Ado said 1 in 3 Children are out of school in Nigeria, while more than 18 million total across primary and junior secondary levels alone.

Ibrahim Ado said some of the major challenges facing the implementation strategies to reduce Out Of out-of-school children include inadequate funding, limited knowledge, poverty, cultural barriers, banditry, early marriage and communal clashes, amongst others.

In her message, Gombe State Commissioner of Education, Professor Aishatu Maigari lauded UNICEF efforts in addressing Out Of School Children phenomenon, and urged fathers to support the education of their children.

Also speaking, the representative of the Director of Basic Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Auwal Hussaini expressed deep concern over the high number of out of School Children in Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States, saying the consequences of neglecting education can lead to the perpetuation of poverty, inequality and stagnation of the country’s development.

Mr. Hussaini, who enumerated some steps taken by the federal government to increase enrollment and access to education, says “However, despite these efforts we can not turn a blind eye to the alarming numbers of out of school children especially in the states of Bauchi Adamawa and Gombe. The presence of out of school children in our society is a persistent reminder that we must do more to bridge the gap between the education system and these marginalized children”.

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