By Williams Anuku, Abuja
THE Federal Government has proposed a five year target to mop up an estimated 10.2 million children believed to be out-of-school in Nigeria.
However, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu said an estimated cost of N10billion will be required to draw up strategies that would lead to actualizing the target.
He gave his observations while delivering a paper, with the theme: “Education Sector Short & Medium Term Blueprint/Work Plan on the Implementation of Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP).
The event was a two-day retreat for state commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, chairmen of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), directors and heads of Parastatals and Agencies in the education sector.
This comes just as the Federal Government unveiled plans to crackdown on substandard primary and secondary schools across the country.
According to the details contained in the document presented to the stakeholders by the Minister, by the end of 2020 about N3 billion would have been committed by 19 states, outside the intervention of the Federal government, in ensuring the enrollment of over two million school age children that are not in school.
Further breakdown indicated that states were also expected to commit N2.4 billion in 2021, N2 billion in 2022, N1.5 billion in 2023 and N1.1 billion in 2024 respectively towards addressing the menace of out-of-school children syndrome.
He lamented the high rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria, who are mostly the almajiris, girls, internally displaced persons, orphans and vulnerable children.
Adamu listed some of the strategic actions to be carried out within the period to include sensitization of traditional rulers and religious leaders on the need to inform their communities of the benefits of formal education.
While urging the lawmakers to increase allocation to the education sector, he called on the State Governors to invest more in basic education as well as prompt access of the Federal Government matching grant from the Universal Basic Education Commission.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, in his presentation underscored the directive by the Minister that two million school age children be taken off the street every year for the next five years, would be taken seriously.
He disclosed that the 2018 National Personnel Audit of Primary schools in Nigeria showed that 10,193, were out of school.
Echono said: “Following the various Federal Government intervention programmes aimed at reducing the rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria by 2,000,000 every year for the next five years, the estimated out-of-school children at the end of the five years would be 193,918.
“The above followed the assumption that there would no new out-of-school children in these five years. All the children of school age will automatically enroll in school, following the compulsory years of schooling as enshrined in the UBEC Act”.