By Ngozi Nwankwo
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has said that
despite government’s best efforts and numerous interventions in the past, Nigeria is still confronted with the challenge of out-of school children, which, in part is the result of the general insecurity in the society.
Adamu said this at the Ministerial Session of the 66th National Council on Education, NCE, held in Abuja on Thursday.
He said it the responsibility of governments to uphold the right to education for all by ensuring that all barriers are removed, adding that while they enjoy this right, the safety and security of all children must remain paramount.
The Minister called for all hands to be on deck to strengthen the security system of the Nigerian educational institutions, saying that security is a collaborative effort and should not be left in the hands of the law enforcement agents alone.
He said all stakeholders in education sector should interface and be involved, through the National Council on Education, in order to address the menace of insecurity in the country, which remains one of the biggest challenges.
“We must make our schools safe and secure at all costs. As I informed you last year, and as you approved the National Policy on School Safety and Violence Free Schools in Nigeria and its implementation guidelines and also the domestication of Safe School Declaration (SSD) in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Education in October, 2021 hosted an international Conference on the SSD to share experience and knowledge with other Sahel countries in addressing attacks on education.
So far, during our time, the ministry has: carried out effective sensitisation on the implementation of the Safe School Declaration,SSD, Initiative; secured $20 million for accelerated emergency funding for the North; conducted vulnerability survey on schools in order to devise robust security strategies; constructed perimeter walls around schools, installed CCTV/ alarm systems in schools, temporarily abolished boarding in rural areas, coached students and teachers on emergency security measures and created a special security unit for schools while the Federal government and some states and the FCT have done their best to arrest the situation, several other states are lagging behind,” said Adamu.
He charged all states to rise up to their responsibilities, and provide a safe and secure learning environment for both students and teachers.
Speaking on out-of-School Children, the Minister said the Federal Ministry of Education developed a document titled ‘Education for Change; A Ministerial Strategic Plan’ (MSP) (2018-2023), adding that one of the focal areas of the document addresses the challenge of out-of-school children through several programmes, identifying one of programmes as Accelerated Basic Education Programme,ABEP, which is an alternative basic education programme for out-of-school children and youth (10 to 18 years) in Nigeria.
The specific goal of the programme, according to Adamu is to reduce the number of out-of-school children to the barest minimum among the ranks of the disadvantaged, the marginalised and those affected by crises, disasters and other socio-economic factors.
Speaking further, the Minister said, “We successfully flagged-off the nationwide implementation of the ABEP on the 23rd of June 2022. Given that the programme is for all the states in Nigeria I would therefore, like to call on all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to commence the implementation of the programme in line with their circumstances and local situations.
“I also urge our parastatals, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC), National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) to prioritise the Implementation of the programme in their action plans in order to confront this issue.”
Adamu enumerated other initiatives of the present administration in achieving the Education 2030 Agenda to include; the implementation of Adolescent Girls’ Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) in seven (7) pilot states with five hundred million dollars (US$ 500,000,000) funding support from the World Bank for the provision of secondary education, critical life skills and digital literacy to adolescent girls; the training of over 200 out of-school among Almajiris by National Arabic Language Village, to be integrated into formal Basic schools in Borno State, the development of e learning portal(www.inspire.education.gov.ng) by the ministry to cater for students in basic and senior secondary schools across the country, and the development of Nigerian Learning Passport which is a new solution designed to close the learning gaps and to enable continuous access to quality education.
He explained that education system of any country is too strategic and sensitive to be treated with levity.
” It is the fulcrum on which national development hinges, teachers play important role in the attainment of our national goals hence, the need to motivate and improve the quality of their lives. My administration facilitated the take-off of six new Federal Colleges of Education in Sokoto, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Benue, Osun and Edo States for improved access to quality teacher education, while 67 illegal Colleges of Education and 212 illegal study Centres were closed down,” said Adamu.