UNICEF to reduce out-of-school children in Bauchi
By Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
In a determined effort to reduce the rate of out-of-school children in Bauchi State in particular and Nigeria as a whole, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has organised a sensitization meeting for stakeholders made up of traditional rulers, community leaders and other stakeholders on the necessity of household mapping and enumeration of the out-of-school children across eight local governments of Bauchi State.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Office, Mr. Bhanu Pathak noted that the challenge of out-of-school children particularly in the North-East is becoming worrisome.
Pathak who was represented by the Officer-in-Charge of the Department, Amos Kudzala said that if the situation is not addressed immediately, the nation might suffer a high illiteracy level and numeracy rates and decreased future labour force.
The sensitization meeting held in collaboration with the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (BASUBEB) at the Command Guest House in Bauchi, according to Pathak, was aimed at identifying factors contributing to the increase in the number out-of-school children in the state.
He said that in addition to economic reason, cost of schooling, socio-cultural and religious considerations are the major factors for the decline in school enrollments, stressing that education plays a vital role in the development of any country and eradicates poverty as well as improves the excellence of one’s life.
The UNICEF Chief stated: “It is no longer news that there are over 13million out-of-school children in Nigeria, and of this number, about 60 per cent are in the North. This situation is not only unacceptable but calls for urgent action by all stakeholders.”
The UNICEF boss also stated that inadequate teachers, learning facilities and far distance to the nearest school, classrooms and toilet must be addressed to return children to the classroom, adding that Bauchi State has 1,080,150 out-of-school children, which is the second-highest after Kano State which has 1,496,736