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Nigeria’s out-of-school children now 18.5 million – UNICEF

United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) has said there are now 18.5 million out-of-School children in Nigeria. According to UNICEF, the figure is much higher compared…

United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) has said there are now 18.5 million out-of-School children in Nigeria.

According to UNICEF, the figure is much higher compared to the 2021 estimate put at 10.5 million.

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National Commission for Namadic Education (NCNE), Professor Bashir H. Usman, disclosed this at an orientation workshop for staff on strengthening the Capacity of Members of School Based Management Committees (SBMC) and Mothers’ Associations (MA) on combating Out-of-School Children in North West Geopolitical Zone in Nigeria held in Kaduna.

According to him, UNICEF also stated that 60 per cent of the out-of-school children are girls.

Bashir said it was estimated that of the 18.5 million out-of-the school children in the country, 3.5 million are from the nomadic background.

He said, “In this year 2022, UNICEF reported that Nigeria has 18.5 million children that are out of school. This figure is quite high when compared with 2021 estimates that was put at 10.5 million which puts Africa most populous country’s out-of-school children to be on an emergency frequency.

“Alarmingly, UNICEF posts that 60 per cent of the 18.5 million in Nigeria are girls. This could be worse in the North West zone comprising Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states which were adversely affected by kidnapping, banditry, insurgency and early marriage, hence the increased number of out-of-school children in the zone.

“The prevalence of out-of-school children could exacerbate the worsening security situation in the zone. It has been estimated that out of the 18.5 out-of-school children in Nigeria, 3.5 million children are from the nomadic background. Issue of our school children has been one of the major challenges in the implementation of Nomadic Education Programme (NEP) in Nigeria.”

The executive secretary also said that following NEP’s advocacy, enrollment increased from 594,230 in 2015 to 1,214,186 in 2022.

He also explained that there was an expansion in nomadic schools across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory from 3,939 in 2015 to 4,375 in 2022.

in his remarks, Director, Social Mobilization and Women Development, Dr. Fidelis Ugochukuwu Idoko, said insecurity in the Northwest increased among schoolchildren.