Written by David LAWANI

CODE, FlexiSAF to tackle out-of-school children in Nigeria

Alarmed by the increasing number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, two civil society organisations; Connected Development(CODE) and FlexiSAF Foundation, have come together to address the issue.

In a joint press statement made available to journalists in Abuja, the groups said the challenges faced by children who are out of school require adequate and sustainable support so as to reduce the threat it pose to societal well-being.

The chairman of FlexilSaf Foundation, Ahmed Salihijo, in his remarks said putting efforts together to fight the menace requires a holistic approach.

His words: "It is indeed a remarkable feat to partner with Connected Development (CODE) in our mutual goal to reach out a helping hand to communities in need.

"Statistics show that there are about 13.2 million Nigerian children currently not in school and this figure is increasing by the day, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria. Issues of insurgency, conflicts and unrest militating the North-East combined with deep-rooted poverty, and certain cultural factors especially in the North have pushed the rate of out-of-school children high.

"Even the few educational facilities in these rural settings are in deplorable conditions—dilapidated structures, no libraries, congested classrooms with poor ventilation, damaged or no furniture, causing pupils to sit on classroom floors—further discouraging children from attending school.

"The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) records that Girls account for 60 per cent of the out-of-school population. For every 100 boys of primary age out of school, 121 girls are denied the right to education, worsening gender-based discrimination and putting girls at a disadvantage.

"Displacement and child marriage also significantly affect a girl’s chances of going to school. Issues of water, sanitation and hygiene, and in many cases, insecurity affecting the delivery of education in conflict affected areas, are contributing factors driving children – particularly girls – away from the classroom", he said.

CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, in his contribution stated that “the future of Nigeria is strongly determined by the quality of education of its children saying how can we begin to talk about quality education when a large proportion of Nigeria’s young ones are out-of-school?”

He also noted that the partnership will be a great leap in pursuing the cause of reducing the number of out-of-school children.

Amina Abubakar, coordinator, FlexiSAF Education, stated that as a woman there is a lot of work to be done in ensuring the Nigerian child goes to school.

 She called on the federal and state governments, civil societies, as well as stakeholders in the education system, especially the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, to commit to securing the education of the Nigerian child.



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