By Aaron Ossai
Amidst growing number of out-of-school children across the country, a Bill seeking to establish National Commission for Almajiri Education and Out-of-School Children has passed through second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The Bill titled “A Bill for an Act to establish National Commission for Almajiri Education and Out-Of-School Children to Provide for a Multimodel System of Education to tackle the menace of Illiteracy, Develop Skill Acquisition and Enterpreneurship Programmes, Prevent Youth Poverty, Deliquency and Destitution in Nigeria and for Related Matters” is Sponsored by Hon. Shehu Kakale and 18 others.
Leading debate on general principles of the Bill, Hon. Kakale noted that once established, the Commission shall be responsible to provide skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes development for children and teenagers through schools to reduce the rate of poverty, and lessen delinquency and destitution in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is among many other countries that is confronted with the phenomenon of out-of-school children. As you may be aware, millions of children and teenagers across the country are currently out of school, due to one reason or the other.
“As at September 2022, out-of-school children in Nigeria were estimated to be 18.5 million by the United Nations Children’s Fund. However, the Universal Basic Education Commission estimated the same to be 13.2 million. The statistics appear even grimmer, judging from the rough estimate of out-of-school children per state in the country.
“Several challenges are associated with the high number of out-of-school children in Nigeria. All out-of-school children in Nigeria are at risk of exploitation, vulnerable to recruitment by insurgents, human traffickers and by other criminal elements in the society. In fact, in your address to members of the House of Representatives in this hallowed chamber on January 28, 2020, Mr Speaker, you were very vivid on the rising number of out-of-school children and the danger it portends for the Nigerian state.
“Mr. Speaker, it was in recognition of the enormity of this situation that you urged members of the House of Representatives to do something to save the millions of out-of-school children with special focus on the fate of almajiri children in Nigeria”, he observed.
Speaking further, he said “It is in light of the need to address this menace that this bill is proposed to the House for consideration. Its intendment is basically to establish the National Commission for Almajiri Education and Out-of-School Children to provide for a multi-modal system of education to tackle the menace of illiteracy.”