ABUJA – The Federal Government said on Monday it targeted no fewer than two million children to be enrolled in 2015 for basic education.
The Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, said this in his Abuja office when answering questions from Malala Yousufzai, a Pakistani youth education activist.
The United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) had reported that Nigeria has 10.5 million children out of school.
“If I look at the statistics of what we have had from 2012 to 2013, from the figure I saw, in terms of enrolment of our children in basic education.
“I think that we expect that from now till next year, at the basic education level, we should have not less than two million of our children that are enrolled in schools.
“(This is) judging from the statistics that we had from 2012 to 2013, and then with the new schools that we have built, the Almajiri schools.
“That is why we are saying that from now till next year we should have not less than two million of our children who are enrolled in schools; that is the pledge I can make to you.
“This government is doing everything humanly possible to make sure that not less than two million are enrolled in schools throughout the federation,’’ he said.
Wike also noted that President Goodluck Jonathan had also introduced different initiatives to reduce the 10.5 million out-of-school children by 2015.
The minister said that government has build 180 schools across the country adding that not less than 135 of the schools had been furnished for the out-of-school children.
He said that the schools included girl-child education centres as well as vocational centres for boys who were out of school and the Almajiri children.
He added that government was giving incentives such as free feeding, books and uniforms, among others, to keep such children in school.
He said that the schools that federal government was building for the out-of-school children on completion would be handed over to the states and local governments as their primary responsibilities.
He explained that the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), from 2011 to date, had given to the states N139 billion to improve basic education.
He said the responsibility of the commission was to intervene by giving the states counterpart funds to provide infrastructure in ensuring that children had the opportunity to attend school.
“Whatever we do, there is a synergy between the ministry and state governments and if they do not key in it becomes difficult to run the basic education.
“So there is a collaboration between the federal and the state governments as it concerns basic education,’’ he said.(NAN)