Nigeria has the highest number of children out-of-school in the world, a whopping 10.5 million. To address this menace, the World Bank has approved to the country $611 million to tackle the issue.
This was made known by the World Bank Education Specialist and Consultant, Mr. Adebayo Solomon, at the flag off of Federal Government’s 2017/2018 Annual School Census exercise across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
According to him, the money was approved for the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BES- DA) Programme, which was aimed at bringing out-of-school children into the classroom, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results in basic education.
This move, he explained, was to support the federal and state authorities in their efforts to foster inclusion and revive growth, in alignment with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government and also to help in generating credible and reliable data in the education sector.
While noting that many states were unable to conduct annual school census because they did not prioritize it, Solomon said with the project embarked upon by the World Bank in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education, the needed money has been made available for each of the states to be able to conduct the census.
“The money is available to the level at which data are collected first of all by the states themselves. They have to spend their money and after they have spent their money somebody will now verify. “We are working with the National Bureau of Statistics to ensure that the data are verified. Immediately they are verified, each school will collect $30. And each state government will collect $100,000.
“The more you continue to publish the data and it is becoming accurate, there is a bonus that is given to you. There should no be a challenge in respect of collecting the data. The state need to be on top of it and be proactive,” he said.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who kicked off the enumeration exercise in Abuja, stressed the importance of data in planning for delivery of quality and all-inclusive education in the country. He explained that there would be a simultaneous commencement of enumeration of all schools, pupils, teachers and facilities in the basic and post-basic school levels in 36 states and FCT, added that the census would provide reliable data that would lead to proper planning, management and administration of education in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the minister disclosed that the Federal Government has commenced geo-positioning of schools, to help in getting the exact and accurate number of schools and validating the annual census school data collection.
He, however, lamented that some state governments, agencies of government and private schools had failed to comply effectively with the enumeration exercise in the previous years.
The minister appealed to states and schools to diligently adhere to the guidelines so as to get the data right.
“I will also urge for cooperation and full participation of the military, para-military and private schools, both registered and unregistered, almajiri centres and integrated Koranic schools in this exercise so that we can explore and improve all school environments in order to begin to solve the problem of out-of-school children,” he said.