In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 26th, May, 2017

You Won’t Believe the Number of Children of School Age Who Are Out of School in Northern Nigeria

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The number of children of school age who are currently out of school in Northern Nigeria, has been revealed.

The Northern state Governors Forum decried the rising number of out of school children in the north, saying about 14 million children of school age are currently out of school in the region, NAN reports.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima who disclosed this at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Forum and Fundacion Profuturo, a Spanish Organisation for the enhancement of education in the north said the growing number of our or school children in the north was alarming and an irony.
Shettima said while the north has about 41,913 public primary school compared to 19,978 in the southern part of the country, the north can only boast of 34 percent literacy rate compared to 67 percent literacy rate in the southern party of the country.
According to him, while the north east alone has a total of 19,436 public primary schools which is almost equal the number in the three regions of the it is just one point shy of being the lowest in literacy across the entire country”
He said the Northern Governors are particularly touched with the educational intervention because “we believe most of the problems in the north are products of low literacy and high poverty levels. Of course, the low literacy is sufficiently responsible for the high poverty. And, what we need is to make our educational institutions functional, qualitative and accessible.
“Until April this year, I was living with a wrong notion that the number of public primary schools in the Southern part of Nigeria tripled the number of schools in the north. I thought the number was, in addition to other key factors, responsible for the wide literacy gap between the north and south.
“I was lucky to have participated at an event organized by the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation in Kaduna and listened to a thought provoking lecture eloquently delivered by Dr. Suleyman Ndanusa, former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“He shared a finding of UNESCO and the National Bureau of Statistics which showed that whereas the entire southern Nigeria made up of the East, West and South have a total of 19,978 public primary schools the northeast alone has a total of 19,436 public primary schools.
“The number of public primary schools in the northeast is almost equal the total in the entire south, Yet, the northeast is just one point shy of being the lowest in literacy across the entire country.
“At regional levels, the three geo-political zones in the north have a total 41,913 public primary schools, more than twice the number of public primary schools in the south. Yet, the south has 67 percent literacy level while the North has a dismal 34 percent literacy level. The ratio in poverty is also in similar proportion between the north and south.
“Now, what we have learned from Dr. Ndanusa’s lecture was that the major problems of education in northern Nigeria are the functionality of schools, the quality of what teachers pass to students, and the level of school enrollment.
“An intervention like the Profuturo Program is certainly one step that can increase the functionality of public schools in Northern Nigeria. This means, helping to address the critical need to make public schools in Northern Nigeria more and more functional. The Northern Governors’ solemnly pledge total commitment to the implementation of this project to improve the quality of our public educational system.
“I know that majority, if not all of my colleagues, the Northern Governors are doing very well in trying to change the conditions of public schools in their respective States. But as we know, the north is grappling with an ever increasing population. The number of school aged children out of school is still on the increase. At the last count, we had 14 million out of school children in the north. The whole thing is an irony.
“The schools are there but not very functional and where the schools are functional, there is low enrollment. We must continually device means of addressing these problems through creative steps and flexible steps.
“To us, the Northern Governors, the North is at stage in need of emergency surgery. We do not really care where the surgeons come from so long as we can agree on modus operandi. All we need is for the north to get well, and in getting well, the north must become by the grace of our God that ordained education for humanity.”
He commended the Catholic Church for their contribution to the development of education in the region.
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