Over 10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school, says ActionAid Nigeria.
The deputy country director of ActionAid, Ifeoma Charles, disclosed this on Wednesday at a one day Education Summit with the theme “Addressing Basic Education Challenges in Bauchi State: The way Forward”.
The event was organized by a Bauchi-based Non-Governmental Organization, Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, in partnership with ActionAid.
Ms. Charles said globally, Nigeria has the highest number of children that are out of school.
According to her “while primary school net enrollment ratio is increasing in countries surrounding Nigeria, the primary school net enrollment ratio in Nigeria decreased from 61% in 1999 to 58% in 2010.
“According to UNESCO over one in six of the worlds out of school children lives in Nigeria. Almost a quarter of young people in the country have not completed primary school and as a result do not having basic skills they need for work,” she said.
She lamented that there are more girls than boys of primary school age out of school, especially in northern Nigeria.
Ms. Charles described the statistics of school children enrollment in Bauchi state as more disturbing saying “the state has one of the least net enrollment rates in the North east zone into JSS”.
“The state has low literacy rate and most women in the state miss out of education because of early marriage. It also has one of the highest percentages of unqualified teachers in primary and secondary schools.
She lamented the poor condition of school infrastructure in the state which requires urgent attention.
“Bauchi state has witnessed a downward trend in budget allocation in the education sector. Education budget in the state in 2013 was 8.19%, 2014, the budget decreased to 6.60% and in 2015, it got 6.23%.
“Without adequate allocation to the education sector to address these challenges, Bauchi state will be denying itself of the huge potential contribution of its female population and the learning outcome if it’s students will remain poor affecting the quality of the work force in the state,” she said.
Ms. Charles expressed the determination of Action Aid to continue to support the attainment of Education For All goal.
In his address, Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi state who was represented by his deputy, Nuhu Gidado attributed lack of political will to the poor condition of education sector.