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Out of school problem needs a new approach

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Collaboration is needed to address the 10 million+ out of school children.

Abdourahamane Diallo, the UNESCO representative in Nigeria, emphasised the importance of tackling the issue of out-of-school children in Nigeria using a collaborative approach involving various sectors and stakeholders. He made these comments during a visit to the National Commission for Almajiri and Out Of School Children’s Education (NCAOOSCE) in Abuja, along with a team from UNESCO. He emphasised the need for a new approach in addressing the issue of over 10 million out-of-school children, stating that cooperation from all parties is essential in eradicating this problem.

The creation of the commission highlights the importance of tackling these issues as a top priority. It is crucial to emphasise the requirement for the involvement of multiple sectors and stakeholders, utilising a data-driven approach to effectively address the challenges of Almajiri and out-of-school children in Nigeria. Diallo emphasised the importance of incorporating culture and diversity into their approach, suggesting that relying solely on old methods would not lead to a resolution. He highlighted the need for all partners to contribute their expertise and strengths in order to achieve success.

UNESCO plays a crucial role in fostering continuous learning.

He emphasised the importance of innovative thinking, creative solutions, and collaboration to tackle obstacles and bring about meaningful and lasting transformation. UNESCO plays a crucial role in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 4 by advocating for accessible and fair education and fostering continuous learning opportunities for everyone. They are committed to assisting the nation in achieving these goals. By promoting education, science, culture, communication, and information, they play a vital role in fostering peace, ending poverty, promoting sustainable development, and encouraging dialogue among different cultures.

On his part, Dr. Sha’aban Sharada, the Executive Secretary of NCAOOSCE, emphasised the importance of cooperation and exchanging information in order to reach the challenging objective of reintegrating children who are not attending school back into the educational system. Sharada praised the deepening bond between UNESCO and the Nigerian education sector, highlighting the successful implementation of various projects resulting from their joint efforts. The partnership has yielded positive results, including productive workshops and meetings like the 2023 conference on “Basic Science for Sustainable Development” as well as the “Education for Sustainable Development.

Effective teamwork is required in tackling educational obstacles.

These joint endeavours showcase the effectiveness of teamwork in tackling educational obstacles and promoting common objectives. With a strong foundation of collaboration, NCAOOSCE sees a close connection between its strategic objectives and UNESCO’s SDG 4 of the 2030 Agenda, aiming to provide accessible and fair education for everyone. Sharada further emphasised the urgency of addressing the issue of more than 10 million children not in school and called on UNESCO to offer essential assistance in various areas that are in line with its goals.

In a similar report by AskNigeria, the Minister of Education in Nigeria, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has announced a strategy to bring all the out-of-school children in the country back into the education system within the next four years. During the 2024 budget defense in Abuja, with the joint committee of the National Assembly on Education, he emphasised the significant obstacle it presented for the country. He stressed the importance of producing skilled tertiary graduates who can make meaningful contributions to the country’s progress, going beyond primary and secondary education.

Related Article: FG to enroll out-of-school children to school

One of the significant consequences of having out-of-school children in Nigeria is the perpetuation of poverty and inequality. Without access to education, these children are more likely to remain in a cycle of poverty, unable to secure well-paying jobs or improve their standard of living. This lack of education also hinders the country’s overall economic development, as a poorly educated workforce will struggle to compete in the global market. Additionally, those children are more vulnerable to exploitation, child labor, and recruitment into criminal activities, perpetuating a cycle of social unrest and instability in the country.

Related Link

UNESCO: Website

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