Nigeria: Drop in Nigeria’s Out-of-School Children Population Excites Buhari’s Group

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has hailed the drop in the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria from 10.5 million to 6.9 million under President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group noted that the current figure was contrary to various figures in the media space.

The BMO said this in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Niyi Akinsiju, and its Secretary, Mr Cassidy Madueke, on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the organisation, the figure recently cited by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, is more authentic than figures from any other source.

“In recent times, various figures have been quoted by different individuals and groups as the number of out-of-school children in the country without recourse to the actual authorities.

“What we find surprising is that many have opted to ignore data supplied by the education ministry as far back as 2020 and prefer to hold on to outdated information for whatever reason.

“We recall that at the 2020 annual ministerial press briefing of the ministry addressed by Minister Adamu Adamu in January 2021.

“He was emphatic that Nigeria now has 6.9 million out of school children contrary to the previous figure of 10.5 million that was first released in 2015, but still being cited by many individuals and groups,” the BMO said.

It recalled that only recently, the minister used the occasion of another ministerial briefing to emphasise that the number had since 2020 dropped to 6.9 million.

The BMO said the minister had explained that this was as a result of some of the initiatives introduced by the Buhari administration.

It added that an initiative known as Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) had been instrumental in improving enrolment in schools in many parts of the country.

It said the BESDA was the singular most important initiative by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration that had helped to drastically reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country.

“This initiative, which was launched in 2018 and backed by a $611 million World Bank funding, has focused on increasing school enrolment in 17 states considered as having the highest number of out-of-school children.

“Data obtained from the education ministry shows that in one year alone, a total of 1,053,422 out of school children were enrolled in schools in the 17 beneficiary states under the BESDA programme,” the BMO said.

The organisation listed the states as Adamawa 25,714; Bauchi, 83,391; Borno, 62,336; Ebonyi, 65,471; Gombe, 52,600; Jigawa, 47,416; Kaduna, 39,091; Kano, 302,434; Katsina, 26,555; Kebbi, 25,556, and Niger 73,568.

Others were Oyo, 40,007; Rivers, 22,782; Sokoto, 71,000; Taraba, 24,246; Yobe, 72,000 and Zamfara, 19,055.

“We also know that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has just kicked off the process of ascertaining the accurate number of out-of-school children as well as teachers in both private and public schools at basic education level across Nigeria.

“This is to enable the agency have accurate, verifiable and reliable data, especially as the last time such an head count was done was in 2018.

“And we dare say, this is one of the reasons UNICEF is still holding on to an outdated figure of out-of-school children rather than the one the education ministry has released since January 2021,” the BMO said.

It stressed that the ministry of education and its agencies were better placed than any individual or group to provide the most accurate data on school enrolment in Nigeria


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