LEADERSHIP——-No fewer than nine million Nigerian children of primary school age are out of school, the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) has said.
Speaking in Katsina during the launch of the School Enrolment Drive for the 2015/2016 Session, a UNICEF staff in the Katsina State office, Shehu Muhammad, said 74% of the children are expected never to enter school while only 5% are classified as drop-outs.
“At the junior secondary level, the situation is much the same with 76.9% or 2.2 million expected never to enter school while 22.1% or 625,000 drop out of school”.
Muhammad said the statistics was obtained from a study published in 2012 and expressed the fear that the figure might have increased.
He listed barriers such as the cost of education, negative perceptions of formal education and the low value placed on education as part of the reasons for the alarming rate of out-of-school children.
According to him, UNICEF was disturbed by the scenario and had adopted the Enrolment Drive Campaign as one of its key interventions under the Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 as a means of ensuring enrolment, retention and completion of school children.
While lauding Katsina State government for demonstrating commitment to improving the standard of education in the state, the UNICEF pledged to provide necessary assistance required of it to achieve education for all children.
In a remark, the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, stressed the need for the recruitment of qualified teachers, saying that “to reposition education, we must get the primary education right”.
He however directed District Heads and other traditional rulers to embark on unscheduled visits to schools for monitoring and supervision.