The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth of Learning to begin the implementation of the Open School learning in Nigeria.
The signing of MoU took place on Tuesday in Abuja between the Universal Basic Education Commission and COL.
Signing the MoU, the President of COL, Aisha Kanwar, said the open schooling initiative was the only alternative to addressing the challenge of Out of School Children in Nigeria and all countries affected by the scourge.
She said: “Children need to learn what is relevant to their daily lives and because many of these children are closer to technology hence we need to take the advantage and use the alternative school approach to help them learn.’’
She said that 27 nations out of the Commonwealth countries have implemented open school learning.
She said: “Already at the India National Institute of Open Schooling, they have 1.3 million children enrolled in the programme and we want to hear that when Nigeria begin there would be more than 1.5 million children enrolled in the initiative.’’
Kansar noted that discussion had been ongoing between the Nigerian government and the Commonwealth of Learning, adding that the signing of the MoU was only to formalise events.
She said: “Every child is important and we must make sure all the children that are out of school are reached.”
The Executive Secretary of the UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, said Nigeria would not relent on its effort to reduce the numbers of out of school children.
He said: “The Out of School issue has been on for about 10 years in Nigeria and the figure kept rising to 13.2 million precisely in 2015 due to Boko Haram attacks.
“Our aim is to reach every child with quality education.’’
The UBEC boss stressed that the Open School learning would give more opportunities to more children with the benefit of technology.
Bobboyi called for involvement of State governments in the Programme, saying there is need to build synergy among all stakeholders.
He said: “It is important to involve all agencies directly involved in determined efforts to ensure that the problem of out of school is addressed in a proper way.
“The federal government does not own a school either across states or at the local government level. Most of the secondary schools belong to states while the primary schools belong to local government.
“There is need to build synergy to mobilise traditional leaders, local government chairmen, State governments and in fact all stakeholders to ensure that we tackle this scourge.’’
News Agency of Nigeria reports that officials who witnessed the signing of the MoU were staff of UBEC, TRCN, Nigeria Teachers Institute and Ministry of Education.