Written by Godfrey AKON

Emirs converge over 13.2 million out-of-school children

Over nine Emirs and several traditional rulers from 19 states of northern Nigeria are meeting in a conference at Kaduna to seek solutions to the over 13.2 million out-of-school children in the country.

Emir of Argungu, HRH Samaila Mera, who is leading the movement, said the conference which scheduled 10th to 11th of October, will also be attended by about 150 to 200 traditional, religious and youth leaders form the 19 states.

Mera disclosed this in Abuja at a Pre-conference briefing, where he stressed that the north is responsible for two-thirds of the out-of-school children population.

“Each of the participating Emirs will sign a commitment for action, signifying his commitment to ensuring that all children out of school within his emirate council are reached and enrolled in school,” he said.

According to him, the conference is organized in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, and the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development.

The conference comes on the heels of revelations by the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, that the out-of-school children population in the country has hit 13.2 million.

In 2013 the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, estimated the out-of-school children population at 10.5 million.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyyi, represented by the Director of Social Mobilisation, Bello Kagara, said the rising wave of out-of-school children was as a result of socio-cultural and economic factors.

Bobbyyi also added that the increase in insurgency attacks in Northeast Nigeria had led to the near collapse of education in the region.

On his part UNICEF Education Chief in Nigeria, Terry Durnian, called on the Federal Government to invest more in the education sector, stressing the need to talk to people who can talk to parents on the importance of education to tackle the challenge.

“The reasons why more children are out of school in northern Nigeria are varied and rooted in the socio-economic environment barriers and bottlenecks to the educational success of girls and boys. Barriers include the cost of education, poverty and negative perceptions to formal education,”Durnian said.



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