President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated an18-member Presidential Steering Committee on Alternate School Programme (ASP) to address the issue of out-of-school children in the country.
Inaugurating the ASP at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, Mr Buhari announced the committee would be co-chaired by the Ministers of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and Education.
The president directed the ministries to coordinate and lead the deployment of a National Plan to address the menace of out-of-school children.
Mr Buhari said it was unacceptable to see children abandoning formal school to engage in menial jobs and child labour in the markets, streets and workshops.
He said the plan to be deployed by the federal government, through the humanitarian ministry would ensure a holistic and comprehensive inclusiveness of appropriate basic education for vulnerable children.
‘‘To commence this special education initiative, emphasis should be given to first provide a limited scope of subjects in Mathematics, English language, Basic Science and Social studies.
“Gradually, the initiative will be scaled up to ensure the acquisition of relevant technical skills in the process that can enable the beneficiaries to participate in gainful economic activities,’’ he said.
Mr Buhari noted that in view of ‘‘some United Nations agencies that report a disturbing level of out-of-school children estimated at 13 million, the humanitarian affairs ministry had identified the critical need to further address literacy inclusiveness, especially among these vulnerable children”.
‘‘While we continue to sustain our efforts on providing formal and conventional education through the activities of the Universal Basic Education Commission under the Federal Ministry of Education, it is still a common sight to notice children abandoning formal school to become apprentices in shops, workshops and markets, whilst many others choose to loiter at markets, become cart pushers and hawkers. ‘These are not acceptable,’’ he said.
The president also reiterated the commitment of the federal government to deal with key challenges of absolute poverty and propel Nigeria and Nigerians to a better way of life and development.
While reviewing the administration’s programmes on poverty eradication, Mr Buhari expressed delight that “many countries are now admiring and imitating Nigeria’s social investment programmes as an effective strategy in the fight against poverty”.
‘‘In our first term, many programmes and projects based on firm policies commenced with the fight against poverty being the main goal.
‘‘The National Social Investment Program (NSIP) that includes the conditional cash transfer, N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Program and The Government Enterprise and Empowerment programs are today gaining admiration and imitation by many countries as an effective strategy.
‘‘Based on the need to sustain these efforts, we have launched the policy of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 at the beginning of our second term in 2019 to further consolidate the gains of the NSIPs through effective coordination and institutionalisation.
‘‘This led to the creation of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development with the mandate to ensure full coordination of all poverty eradication efforts of the government for enhanced impact,’’ he said.
Other members of the Presidential Steering Committee on ASP are Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum; Minister of State, Budget and National Planning; Minister of State, Education; Senior Special Assistant to the President, Sustainable Development Goals and Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
Others are the Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); the National President, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); Representative, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Representative, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Representative, Global Partnership for Education.
The Chair, Private Sector Advisory Group – SDGs, Chair, Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development, Chair, Senate Committee on Basic Education and the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education, Shehu Kakale are also members of the ASP.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will serve as Secretary. (NAN)
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...