Chester Shaba, a United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Education Specialist, says 1.8 million children in Borno are out of school as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Mr. Shaba stated this on Tuesday during the launch of a campaign to return children to school in Maiduguri.
He expressed regret that more than 10 million children are out of school in Northeast Nigeria and other parts of the country, saying girls are the worst hit.
“From the beginning of their lives, female children get less attention in terms of food and education and sometimes the lives of female children are seen as less valuable than those of their male counterparts.
“UNICEF realised that while school enrolment rates are rising, too many girls continue to be left behind.
“They are deprived of their right to education. The barriers standing in their way include poverty and gender-based discrimination and violence.
“In addition, the poor quality of education reduces the possible benefits of education for both girls and boys.
“We have talked about need to develop strategies that will make us deliver quality services in order to effectively support education of girls and boys living in IDPs camps.
“For those living in host communities and also those that are in returned areas, this programme is a clear evidence of commendable effort of Borno Government to ensure that all girls and boys access quality education.
“And now it is high time to make sure that we come up with strategies that will ensure that we bring back to school all the children that are out of school.
“We also need to encourage those that have never attended school and those that are already in school so that they do not become drop out,” said Mr. Shaba.
Shettima Kullima, the Executive Director of the Borno State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), said the number might even be more than what UNICEF was presenting.
“Looking at this particular figure, the UNICEF might be economical with the fact; the number might even be more than that but given that number, we know that the devastation caused by Boko Haram took us to this level.
“Our challenges now are that we will continue to expand the existing schools in areas that are not at risk.
“We will do all we could to prepare so that as soon as the area became accessible we will ensure total rehabilitation of the schools,” said Mr. Kullima.
He said Governor Kashim Shettima has renovated dozens of schools in the areas where there is relative peace to enable pupil to return to class.