The federal government has restated its commitment towards addressing the menace of out-of-school children in the country.
In an interview in Abuja, the executive secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research Development Council (NERDC), Ismail Junaidu, said the menace must be immediately tackled.
Mr Junaidu said the federal government, through the Federal Ministry of Education, had initiated a roadmap that would go a long way in addressing the problems if strengthened and implemented.
“Lately, this government is very serious on getting the out-of-school children back to school. A roadmap has been developed and when you look at the roadmap, there is heavy concentration on the need to have out-of-school children reduced,” said the NERDC chief. “There is also emphasis on skills acquisition. Now, in the senior secondary schools, no child will graduate without having a trade- is it hair plaiting, garment making, fisheries, etc?”
Mr Jinadu added, “This is put in place so that by the time the child finishes, that child can decide to stop and do his or her own business or proceed to the university, polytechnics or colleges of education.
“He or she has something to hold on to, so this government is giving every attention to skills acquisition to help take the students off the street.”
The president of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, FCT (NAPPS), Ruth Agboola, canvassed for federal government concentration on schools in rural communities to reduce the number of out-of-school children.
Ms Agboola called on the government to strictly enforce educational policies geared towards eliminating the menace of out-of-school children in the country.
She also appealed for support in terms of educational learning materials, laboratory equipment assistance, and other education-related support.
Meanwhile, education minister Tahir Mamman recently disclosed that the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) project in 18 states was critical to reducing the number of out-of-school children.
“The AGILE project aimed at reducing the number of out-of-school children is at the heart of the priority project of the federal government. In fact, if we are to put a number to it, it is actually the number one because it is part of out-of-school issues we are talking about,” said Mr Mamman.
The minister added, “Therefore, the success of this project is the success of the federal government in reducing the number of out-of-school children in our country.”