The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has said that Nigeria needs over 900,000 classrooms to absorb nearly 20 million out-of-school children. This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Hammed Boboyi, while briefing the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, about the agency’s activities on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
The high number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is a major challenge for the country. It contributes to poverty, crime, and insecurity. It also undermines the country’s economic development.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, including:
- Poverty: Many families cannot afford to send their children to school.
- Child labor: Many children are forced to work instead of going to school.
- Insecurity: The insurgency in the Northeast and other security challenges in the country have made it difficult for many children to attend school.
- Lack of access to schools: Many children live in remote areas where there are no schools.
- Cultural barriers: Some cultures do not value education for girls.
The Nigerian government has taken some steps to address the problem of out-of-school children, such as the introduction of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program in 2004. However, more needs to be done to ensure that all children have access to quality education.
Here are some things that can be done to address the problem of out-of-school children in Nigeria:
- Increase investment in basic education: The government needs to invest more in basic education to ensure that all children have access to quality education. This includes building more schools, providing more teachers, and providing free or affordable education.
- Address the root causes of out-of-school children: The government needs to address the root causes of out-of-school children, such as poverty, child labor, and insecurity. This can be done through social programs and policies.
- Make education more attractive to parents: The government needs to make education more attractive to parents by providing incentives, such as school feeding programs and free uniforms.
- Promote community engagement: The government needs to work with communities to ensure that all children are enrolled in school and that they remain in school until they complete their education. This can be done through community awareness campaigns and by working with traditional and religious leaders.
Addressing the problem of out-of-school children in Nigeria will require the concerted efforts of the government, communities, and the private sector. It is an investment that will pay off in the long run, as it will lead to a more educated and productive workforce.
In addition to the above, I would like to add that the Nigerian government needs to focus on improving the quality of education in the country. This will make education more attractive to parents and children, and it will encourage more children to stay in school.
The government also needs to make sure that schools are safe and welcoming for all children. This includes addressing issues such as bullying, corporal punishment, and discrimination.
Finally, the government needs to work to change the cultural attitudes towards education, especially for girls. This can be done through public awareness campaigns and by working with traditional and religious leaders.