UNICEF: Number Of Out-Of-School Children Soaring In Nigeria

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised the red flag over Nigeria’s escalating out-of-school crisis, with a staggering 18.3 million children now missing out on education.

With 18.3 million children missing out on education, Nigeria has earned the dubious distinction of having the largest out-of-school population globally, a stark reminder of the country’s pressing education challenges.

A recent regional stakeholders’ meeting in Gombe, focused on out-of-school children and retention, transition, and completion models, revealed a sobering truth: 18.3 million Nigerian children are missing out on education. Dr. Tushar Rane, Chief of UNICEF’s Bauchi Field Office, called for immediate attention to this crisis.

“Unfortunately, this positions Nigeria with the challenge of having the largest number of out-of-school children globally,” Rane stated.

Dr. Tushar Rane highlighted a disturbing trend, with a significant 37% of primary school-age children absent from school, and only 63% attending regularly, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions to reverse this decline.

With only 84% of children transitioning to junior secondary education after completing primary school, Dr. Tushar Rane warned of the devastating consequences of rising dropout rates at the primary level, affecting both boys and girls.

Read also: Nigeria Has Approximately 25 Million Child Brides — UNICEF

A cocktail of factors is hindering Nigeria’s education sector, including a lack of evidence-based policies, meager budget allocation, and a dire shortage of teachers and classrooms. These challenges are compounded by decrepit infrastructure, cultural norms that don’t prioritize education, and health and safety concerns that leave students vulnerable.

To address this challenge, UNICEF is collaborating with the Universal Basic Education Commission to develop the “National Framework of Action to Reduce the Number of Out-of-School Children in Nigeria” and the “Retention, Transition, and Completion Model.”

In a bid to tackle Nigeria’s education crisis, UNICEF has announced plans to develop innovative solutions to get more children in school and keep them there. During a recent two-day meeting, the organization outlined its goal to create effective models for reducing the number of out-of-school children and improving retention, transition, and completion rates for adolescents in secondary schools.

He predicted that the meeting would produce comprehensive, targeted, and regionally-relevant strategies to tackle the problem of out-of-school children, ultimately resulting in improved educational outcomes, increased student retention, and higher completion rates.

“I envisage that after this meeting, we will have clear, targeted, and state-specific strategies that will further ensure that we reduce the rate of out-of-school children and enhance retention, transition, and completion,” he added.

Africa Today News, New York 

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