THE population of out-of-school children in Nigeria has increased from 10.5million to 13.2million, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has said.
With 10.5million children roaming the streets, Nigeria was ranked as a country with the highest number of out of school children in the world.
UBEC which overseas provision of infrastructure to basic education in the country had in April this year claimed that the 10.5million figure was no longer reliable as it flagged off the national education personnel audit.
The result of the audit, which was expected to give the accurate number of pupils in school and children that are out of school is yet to be released by the Commission.
But the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Ahmed Boboyi said that the 2015 Demographic Health Survey shows that the figure has since increased to 13.2million.
He said this in Abuja on Thursday at the Northern Nigerian Traditional Rulers Conference on Out-Of-School Children.
Speaking through Bello Kaigara, Director Social Mobilisation at UBEC, Boboyi lamented that the increase has affected the socioeconomic progress of the country.
” Over the past few years, Nigeria has been besieged by Boko Haram and a lot of children have been out of school,” he said.
“If you add the number of children that have been displaced and with the increasing number of birth, you find out that our source in DHS conduct by UNICEF and published in 2015 reveals the number of out of school children to have been increased to 13.2million.”
This, according to him, is equally affecting the implementation of all education treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.
He remarked that traditional rulers who are the custodians of the culture have a significant role to play in addressing the problem of the Nigerian children roaming the street, and reduce the figure.
While speaking at the event, Chief Education of UNICEF, Terry Durnier said the world would not help Nigeria solve the problem if it did not solve it by itself.
“The number of out-of-school of over 10.5million calls for serious concern.” He said Nigeria should take on the challenge of reducing the number.
According to UNICEF, Nigeria accounts for more than one-in-five out-of-school children, and 45 per cent of out of school in West Africa.
Of the total out-of-school children, girls are in the majority, especially in Northern Nigeria, UNICEF said.