At least 56, 000 children orphaned by the Boko Haram insurgency have been registered for enrollment in 20 mega schools the Borno State government is building, officials have said.
The government said the children would remain under its care even after other displaced persons might have returned to their communities.
The state Commissioner for Education, Musa Kubo, disclosed this on Wednesday at a press briefing organised to mark the Press Week of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state.
Mr. Kubo said the 56, 000 children who lost their parents due to Boko Haram insurgency were those who have so far been registered, adding that the number could rise.
He said the kids would be enrolled in the 20 mega schools that are currently being built in safe locations across the state.
“Each of the mega schools is going to accommodate a minimum of 2000 pupils,” said the commissioner.
Mr. Kubo, who is a retired educationist, lamented that education of children in the state was disrupted in April 2014 when Boko Haram gunmen turned their attacks on public schools.
He said the schools were not reopened for two years until 2016, by which time most of the educational infrastructures in the state, including 28 senior secondary schools, had been destroyed by the insurgents.
Mr Kubo, who is also a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, said the state government had to immediately embark on massive reconstruction of schools, especially in safe locations. He said new ones like the mega schools are also being built to cater for the orphans who may not be able to return to their ancestral communities.
As part of the plan to revive education in the state, the commissioner disclosed that the state government has concluded arrangement for conditional cash transfers for parents who enroll their wards in schools.
“Any parent, especially those in remote countrysides who willingly enroll their children in school, would be paid a certain amount of money as encouragement. And a parent that enrolled a girls child gets higher payment than those who enroll boys,” he said.
“We have taken full responsibility for the education of the orphans; for if we fail to care and educate them, they will certainly become the dreaded Frankenstein monster that rise tomorrow to consume us all – it could even be worse that Boko Haram.”
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