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Kaduna to enroll out-of-school children

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By Usman Oladimeji

Over 500,000 children have been enrolled in school the first phase.

As the rate of out-of-school children continues to rise in Nigeria, several initiatives are being implemented in the country over the years to meet and address the issue. Such actions have also been demonstrated by the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (Kaduna SUBEB) as it launches a campaign to enroll 145,553 of those children in schools, as part of the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) project, funded by the World Bank. This was announced by Mrs. Esther Jibji, Board Desk Officer Area I Lead, BESDA, at the opening of a one-day sensitization of stakeholders on the enrollment of out-of-school children in Kaduna.

Mrs. Jibji stated that BESDA’s implementation in the state in 2019 had been tentatively designed to address the growing problem of out-of-school children. She disclosed that during the first phase of the plan, the board has enrolled over 500,000 children, of which 312,785 have been validated by the National Population Commission. She also emphasized the importance of sensitizing the relevant parties, as the state has recently received funding to help bring back more youngsters who have dropped out. To this effect, sensitization events were held to encourage parents, guardians, religious and community leaders to get their children enrolled.

Kaduna SUBEB has set up non-formal learning institutions.

However, Mrs. Jibji claimed that not all children were enrolled in school despite Kaduna SUBEB’s high level of effort. While ensuring that no child is left behind in the education system is the responsibility of everyone, it requires the cooperation of all parties involved. The Desk Officer provided a thorough breakdown of the demographics of the unschooled children population, noting the prevalence of homeless youth, disabled youth, girls, and youngsters from low-income families and nomadic communities.

Furthermore, she also mentioned that some of the children appeared to be in their homes due to disability, while others are on the streets, in motor packs, or on farms. In light of this, the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board has also set up non-formal learning institutions in several regions of the state. In her point of view, this tactical move is a component of the efforts being made to bring learning opportunities right to the front doors of children who are unable to attend standard educational settings.

Pupils in grades one to three were receiving school supplies.

Hajiya Farida Ibrahim, education secretary for Kaduna North LGA, described the BESDA project as “crucial” to solving the issue of children who are out of school. Ibrahim encouraged parents and guardians to send their kids to learn of a regular basis so that they can get the education they need to have a good life and make positive contributions to society. Religious leaders were also tasked by Kabiru Lawal, acting Director, Social Mobilization, Kaduna SUBEB, to educate their congregations about the issue during sermons. Lawal stated that pupils in grades one through three were receiving the much needed supplies and uniforms as part of the project.

Malam Salisu Lawal, the Ministry of Education’s Director of Planning and Physical Development, added that the government needs the support of community stakeholders. He, therefore called on the community members and other interested parties to contribute their efforts in getting kids off the streets and into classrooms. Kaduna South Local Government Area’s School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) Chairman Malam Usman Sani has pledged to collaborate with community leaders to locate and enroll the children in need.

The scheme began with a $611 million loan from the World Bank.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Federal Ministry of Education collaborated to launch BESDA, a Programme for Result (P for R). The scheme began in 2019, with a 611 million-dollar loan from the World Bank, which the Federal Government awarded 17 participating states each with a grant. Regardless of the efforts by the states, federal government, stakeholders, and the international community, the number of children still not enrolled in Nigeria is still considerably high.

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