FG tasks traditional, religious leaders on reduction of 10. 5 million out-of-school children


By Ngozi Nwankwo

Federal Government on Thursday tasked traditional rulers and religious leaders in Nigeria to join forces with the Government in its efforts to reduce the high number of out-of-school children estimated at 10.5 million.

This is just as the Christian Association of Nigeria,CAN, has called for an end to strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), while also demanding for return of all mission schools in the country to their original owners as a way to arrest the gradual erosion of values and morals in schools.

Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi and Secretary-General of CAN, Barrister Joseph Daramola, spoke in Abuja at the one-day consultative meeting of the National Planning Committee on the 2022 National Personnel Audit (NPA) with religious leaders on the modalities for the conduct of NPA in all basic education institutions in Nigeria.

The first phase of the school census exercise would commence on Monday, 6th June, 2022 in the southern part of the country.

Bobboyi who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary (Services), Dr Isiaka Kolawole, in his address, acknowledged the key role being played by traditional rulers and religious leaders in the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in the country, urging them to continue to collaborate with the government in addressing the challenge out-of-school children while ensuring quality basic education is delivered to the citizenry.

He also appealed to the religious leaders whom he noted have many schools across the country to support the NPA exercise, saying dearth of data on basic education has remained a major challenge to its implementation in Nigeria as education planners and decision-makers had to make do with data that is not up-to-date or outrightly falsified.

He said it was against this backdrop that the Commission with the State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Universal Basic Education Boards conducted national personal audits in 2006, 2010 and 2018, explaining that the 2018 exercise was more comprehensive as it covered all categories of public and private education institutions unlike the previous exercises that were limited to public schools only.