By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Mr Hamid Bobboyi, Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), has said that the number of out-of-school children increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million between 2010 and 2015.
Bobboiyi made this known in Abuja on Thursday at a Pre-conference briefing on Northern Nigeria Traditional Rulers Conference on Out-of-school children.
Bobboyi, who was represented by Mr Bello Kagara, Director, Social Mobilisation, said the Demography Health Survey (DHS) jointly conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education revealed this figure.
According to him, up to 2015, the figure was up to 10.5 million.
“Over the last few years due to insurgency challenge and with increasing number of birth, the DHS jointly conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of education revealed the new figure to 13.2 million.
“For some years now, Nigeria has been besieged by Boko Haram insurgency, which has led to the near collapse of education in the north-east Nigeria.
“If you add the number of out-of-school children that have been displaced and with the increasing number of birth, you will find out that our source in DHS revealed the out-of-school children has increased to 13.2 million.”
Also, the Emir of Argungun, Alhaji Samaila Mera said the involvement of traditional rulers was key to solving the problems of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
The monarch identified socio-cultural factors as a major problem confronting the challenges hindering northern children from going to school.
He added that the reasons more children are out of school in northern Nigeria was varied and rooted in the socio-cultural and economic environment barriers and bottlenecks.
The emir explained that the barriers included the cost of education, poverty and negative perceptions to formal education, saying these factors influenced the educational choices parents make in the region.
Earlier, Prof. Abba Haladu, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Mass Literary, Adult and Non formal Education (NMEC), said Nigeria must at this point look for ways in addressing the problems.
Haladu said addressing these problems would make Nigerian children have access to basic quality education.
Similarly, Mr Terry Durnnian, Chief Education Specialist, UNICEF said the world can only address the problem of out-of-school children, if Nigeria plays her role in addressing the scourge of Boko Haram insurgency.
Durnnian pledged UNICEF’s readiness to take on the challenge of reducing the number of out-of-school children.
“We are ready to make commitment for actions, the process has begun by UNICEF to lead and support the process of reducing the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria,” he said.