The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on Friday said out of school children rate in the country has dropped from 10.5 per cent to 8.6 per cent in the last three years.
Adamu, represented by the Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof. Ajiboye Josiah, said this on Friday in Bauchi at the flag-off of 2017/2018 National Enrolment Drive.
The event took place at the Tudun Salmanu Primary School, Bauchi.
He said: “When the present President came into power in 2015 UNICEF was telling us that the out of school children in Nigeria was about 10.5 per cent, but I want to tell Nigerians that with the effort of this president especially with school feeding programme, it has dropped from 10.5 million to 8.6 million as at last year.
“The government has put so many programmes in place to encourage our children to have access to schools and I want to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for that.”
Adamu pointed out that the ministry had made it a policy to construct and furnish 7,875 classrooms annually for the next four years, commencing from 2015, to accommodate and enrol 2,725,000 pupils as well as recruit additional qualified teachers to carter for the increase in pupils enrolment.
He stressed that the ministry had earlier introduced the integration of Tsangaya (Qur’anic schools) into modern education system and the introduction of Enrolment Drive Policy to reduce the number of street children through the provision of quality learning.
Adamu further said the ministry had signed an MoU with NYSC to enlist children in hard-to-reach areas in the country into the community development services to support community participation to further reduce number of out of school children.
Adamu, who described “teachers as nation builders”, said “because when you enrol your children they are the keepers, because even if you enrol and without the teachers they will go back, therefore, we need quality teachers to give them good and sound education”.
He, therefore, urged the Bauchi State Government to take care of the welfare of their teachers and to recruit more teachers that would educate the children.
He said: “Education is a tool for enhancing human capacity for development particularly economic development because evidence abound that countries with high level of education are countries with high standard of living.
“No country can develop beyond the level of its education, therefore, education can not go beyond the level of its teachers.”
The minister pointed out that “the more we allow children to roam the streets, we risk our future, we risk our peace and the peace of our children”.
Besides, Adamu urged political leaders to flag-off similar enrolment campaign in their areas of jurisdictions.
Flagging-off the campaign, Governor Mohammed Abubakar noted that the educational infrastructure in the state have been overstretched following influx of Internally Displaced Persons into the state.
Abubakar, represented by his Special Adviser on Education, Alhaji Sabo Mohammed, said the influx of the IDPs into the state from neighbouring states occurred when some of the states were hit by insurgency and called on the Federal Government to assist the state to enable it cope with the high number of children.
The Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Universal Primary Education Board, Prof. Yahya Yero, had earlier said the campaign was in conformity with the National Enrolment Drive Frame Work for 2018 with concentration at community level.
Yero said the campaign would involve house-to-house exercise through empowering and supporting the School Based Management Committee and Mothers’ Association to conduct the activity in their various communities.
He said the two bodies would regularly track and monitor attendance of enrolled children in their respective schools and communities as part of their oversight responsibilities.
New children of school age were registered and given school bags, books and uniforms.