The Save the Children International (SCI) and the BIC under the Safe Back to School Campaign has donated education materials to boost enrolment of children in Borno and Cross River states.
The organisation said on Wednesday in Abuja in a statement that it distributed 100,000 lucky pens and learning materials to pupils and schools in Maiduguri, Borno State, and Ogoja, Cross River State, in support of safe school resumption for some of the most vulnerable children in Nigeria.
It said that though primary education is officially free and compulsory in Nigeria, about 10.5 million school-age children are still out of school, the highest number in the world, due to lack of access, displacement, cultural norms, safety concerns and unaffordability of scholastic materials, such as pens, pencils, and school bags, among others.
“Therefore, the distribution of the school supply is expected to support school resumption, retention, and transition of students to their next grades,” the SCI said in the statement signed by Ms. Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, SCI Nigeria.
Ms. Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria said, “Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the poorest and marginalized children are most at risk of losing out on learning and not returning to the classroom.”
She added that instead they face being forced into child marriage or child labour, and they are at increased risk of having their education and development truncated.
On her part, the Youth Ambassador, SCI Nigeria, Maryam Ahmad, said, “Being out of school has a significant impact on the protection and wellbeing of children, increasing their vulnerability to exploitation, violence, abuse and neglect. This includes the risk of early child marriage, harmful work, recruitment and use by armed groups, violence in the home and psychological distress.”
Also, the BIC Senior Sales Manager West and Central Africa and Deputy General Manager Lucky Stationary Nigeria Ltd, Guillaume Groues, said, “The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the education sector globally, and more so in Nigeria. At BIC we believe that education has the power to transform the world and as a brand we are committed to play our part in helping improve the learning conditions of 250 million children around the world.
“We are proud to team-up with Save the Children to help reach students in need in hopes of sparking joy and imagination during these difficult times.”