NIGERIA: As crisis continues to linger in Nigeria’s educational sector, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) revealed that not less than 10.5 million children in the country are out of school. A full one-third of Nigerian children are out-of-school, and one in five out-of-school children in the world are Nigerian.
The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins made the revelation as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s International Day of Education on January 24.
Hawkins however added that the crisis is affecting the school children in so many ways and if drastic measures are not taken it will cause more damage than ever.
Girl children, children with disabilities, children from the poorest homes, children in the street, displaced children, and children in geographically distant areas are all disproportionately affected by education, Hawkins added.
However, Hawkins noted that in many instances, Nigerian children don’t have the privilege of making it to the classroom and those who make it to the eliminator classes do not make it to the secondary school. And this is devastating and heartbreaking, Hawkins said.
It is estimated that 35 per cent of Nigerian children, who attend primary school, do not go on to attend secondary school. Half of all Nigerian children did not attend secondary school in 2021, Hawkins added.
Considering the worsening situation, the Nigerian government must do all it can to see that the number of out-of-school children is reduced to the nearest minimum to cater for the welfare and the needs of the children.
Community leaders, parents, teachers and caregivers are to collectively come together to find the best strategies to ensure that all children enroll into school, Hawkins added.
Hawkins also stressed the need for the Nigerian government to make sure that female children enjoy the same privileges as male children do with respect to access to quality and good education across all levels as that will reduce the problem of gender inequality.
But the government must not forget the safety of the school children while sending them to school to learn, as life is very pivotal in whatever we do, Hawkins noted.
“No child should be afraid to enter a classroom, afraid their school might be attacked or that they will be kidnapped. And no parent should fear sending their children to school,’’ Hawkins added.