The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) says the popular ’10.5 million’ out-of- school pupils data is no longer reliable as insurgency and other crisis have forced more pupils out of school in recent time.
About four years ago, the United Nations Education and Children Fund (UNICEF) revealed that over 10 million Nigerian kids are out of school, placing Nigeria among the top 12 countries accounting for the 47 per cent of the world’s out-of-school children.
But Hammid Bobboyi, Executive Secretary of UBEC, said over one million children have been forced out out school by insurgency in the North eastern part of the country as well as other crisis in other parts of the country, making the 10.5million figure of out-of-school children unreliable to work with for planning and policy making.
He was speaking on Thursday in Abuja at a press briefing to announce the conduct of 2018 National Personnel Audit (NPA) of all basic education institutions in Nigeria.
“After the Boko Haram crisis in the North east, how many pupils have left school? Over one million have been displaced, at the end of the day you have over 11 million and some are going back to school.
“We keep running away from the reality. A lot of statistics are being bandied around, but let’s get something that can be relied on.
Again, if you look at what is going on in the North east, a lot of people are going back to school. Part of the problem we have been having is conflicting figures. Let’s get something that can be reliably used.” He said
While explaining the rationale behind the National Personnel Audit, which last took place in 2010, Boboi said that the exercise would be a comprehensive audit of all public and private basic education institutions in the country, noting that it would help to obtain comprehensive and reliable data of children of school-going age enrolled in basic education schools− primary and junior secondary.
He added that the audit would also provide authentic mapping of all basic education schools in the country, address the challenge of inadequacy of education data for the purpose of effective planning and implementation of programmes in the sub-sector.
According to him, the exercise will be undertaken in two phases; the first phase of will be conducted in all states of the three geo-political zones in the southern part (South East, South South and South West) of the country from April 29- May 27, 2018.
He said the second phase of the exercise will be conducted in all states of the three geo-political zones in the Northern part (North East, North West and North Central) of the country from June 3 to 30, 2018.
According to the Executive Secretary, UBEC is empowered to establish a basic education data bank and conduct research on basic education in Nigeria
“Without the audit, we will continue to grope on challenges and implement policies that are not related to the problems on ground.
“We need data and good statistics to support strategic plan for the development of education because no plans can be implemented without data”
He said that strategic planning cannot be successful without a data and if the foundation of the basic education is shaky, we are jeopardising the future of the sector.
Speaking earlier, Edwin Jarumai, Chairman, National Planning Committee of the audit, said the 2018 exercise will cover both public and private schools, noting that the previous audit in 2006 and 2010 only covered public schools.
He said about 725 staff including developmental partners would be deployed for the exercise across the nation.