STAKEHOLDERS in the education sector have placed current figures of out-of-school children at 13.2million, blaming it on terrorism in the Northern part of Nigeria.
The figures which stood at 10.5million initially, were shored up between 2010 and 2015 to the current figures of 13.2million, according to research jointly conducted by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF).
Hamid Bobboyi, UBEC Executive Secretary made this known in Abuja on Thursday.
The UBEC boss, represented by the Commission’s Director of Social Mobilisation, Bello Kagara attributed the increase to fears and constant attacks from the insurgent group which has diminished the interest of schooling in the affected regions.
According to him, if nothing is done soonest to address the situation, it might lead to near collapse of education in the embattled regions.
“Up to 2015 the figure was 10.5million over few years and with increasing number of birth, the demographic health survey jointly conducted by United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and the federal Ministry of Education revealed the new figure of 13.2million,”he stated.
Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Muhammadu Mera however proffered some solutions, saying the involvement of traditional rulers would go a long way in addressing the challenge.
He listed socio-cultural factors at the core of challenges bedeviling the sector and hindering children from attending school, especially in the north.
He said, “I strongly believe that traditional rulers can lead the process of re-integrating children back to school”.
UNICEF’s Chief Education Specialist, Terry Durnian said it behooves Nigeria to find a means of addressing the situation so as to serve as best practices for the entire world.
“Our mandate is to look at the four key rights among which is the right of the child to education, it is a fundamental right they should have, not a situation where more than 10million children in Nigeria are unable to access education.
“To address this we need to build on our strength, UNICEF will not lead the process but will support the process. It is important to talk to people who can talk to parents on the importance of education and this will help in the reduction of the out of school challenge,” he stated.