The Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, has disclosed that 70 percent of the 10.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria are in the northern part of Nigeria.
He lamented that despite this enormous challenge, some state governments have not shown interest in accessing the Federal Government’s matching grant to them to support the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE).
Bobboyi spoke when he led his management team on advocacy visit to Bauchi State. The team was also in Gombe, where the UBEC executive secretary noted that the North was still backwards in terms of school enrolment and retention.
In Bauchi, the team was received by the deputy governor (who also doubles as the commissioner for education), Malam Nuhu Gidado, who represented the governor.
While drawing the attention of the state governor to the challenge of out-of-school children in Nigeria, Dr Bobboyi said there was the need for UBE system managers to engage government and other key stakeholders on mechanisms for addressing the challenge, which he said was already getting out of hand.
He recalled that the issue was extensively discussed in the last Education Conference in Bangladesh where Nigeria’s continued rating in this respect became very embarrassing.
He, however, disclosed that in addition to efforts of the Federal Government to address the challenge, the World Bank had proposed to release N600 million as an intervention to assist in addressing the out-of-school children menace in the North-East.
Bobboyi observed that his commission had committed a lot of resources to almajiri schools, and challenged states to put the available facilities to effective use.
He said it was unfortunate that most of the schools built for girl-child and almajiri education were not put to use after being handed over to the states’ Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).
The UBEC executive secretary said the commission was finding it difficult to explain to the National Assembly why more funds should be appropriated to UBEC when a large chunk of the funds meant for states was still not accessed.
The deputy governor, who received the delegation on behalf of the governor, admitted that the state was faced with the enormity of challenges in basic education and that the current administration inherited a worrisome education system in the state.
Gidado, however, said the state Governor was doing a lot to improve the lots of the education sector, and that the state government had constituted a task force to overhaul the entire education system.