By Vincent Ufuoma
THE Federal Government has called on the World Bank to assist Nigeria in reducing the number of out-of-school children from 10 to 5 million by the year 2023.
Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education during a visit by a World Bank delegation to his office on Wednesday led by Shubham Chawdry, Country Director of the World Bank.
Adamu said the call was in line with the Federal Government’s commitment “to ensure that Nigerian children have access to qualitative education, irrespective of their economic backgrounds.”
The Minister reiterated that “the federal government is keen about reducing the number” of out-of-school children in the country and to also improve the country’s standard of education.
He said that the Ministry was currently working with the World Bank on projects aimed at encouraging children back to school, particularly in the area of increased enrollment of the girl-child.
Adamu commended the Bank’s role and commitment to the development of Nigeria educational sector, and expressed the government’s readiness for better interventions that would lead to the eradication of the out-of-school children phenomenon in the country.
Speaking, Shubham Chawdry, World Bank Country Director, pledged his organisation’s commitment to the improvement of Nigeria’s education sector.
While emphasising that education is a sure way of eliminating poverty, Chawdry pledged the readiness of the World Bank to assist in financing more developmental projects.
He declared the Bank’s interest in long-lasting projects, adding that the World Bank would no longer dictate developmental projects but leave the decision to governments as they are in the best position to ascertain the needs of their citizens.
A Demographic Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2015 by UNICEF and the Nigerian government revealed that Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world with a number of 13.2 million children.
The report further said that about 69 percent of the country’s out-of-school children are spread across the FCT and 10 states in the North.
The states include Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba states.
About 60 percent of the country’s 13.2 million out-of-school children are said to be girls.