- UNICEF has lamented the rate of illiteracy in Nigeria, especially in the northern region
- It said 69% of out-of-school children in Nigeria are in the northern states
- It added that Bauchi state topped the lists with over 1.1 million out of school children
The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has said Nigeria is losing out on a literate and skilled workforce it needs to grow economically due to a huge number of out-of-school children.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the deputy representative, UNICEF Nigeria, Pernille Ironside, stated this on Wednesday, October 10, in Kaduna, at the opening of a two-day Northern Nigeria Traditional Leaders Conference (NNTLC) on out-of-school children.
Legit.ng gathers that the conference was organised by the federal ministry of education, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), National Commission for Mass Education and Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development (NCMESFPD) in collaboration with UNICEF.
Ironside said that the federal ministry of education and other government records put the figure of out-of-school children aged between six and 14 at 10.5 million.
She said: “Other sources say the number of out-of-school children is higher, but the focus should not be on the precise number, but on boys and girls in communities who lose out on education and better livelihood.
“The affected children lose out on hope and the future they can have for themselves, their families, their communities and their country.
“Nigeria needs to leapfrog to bring more children into education and into learning through partnerships and collective actions.
"This is why we are here today, so that together we can take the quantum leap to give more children the opportunity to go to and stay in school.”
The UNICEF official noted that more than half of primary school-age girls in the northeast and northwest states of Nigeria were not in school.
She said: “The latest multiple indicator cluster survey says 69 per cent of out-of-school children in Nigeria are in northern states with Bauchi state at the top with 1.1 million.
“Katsina state is second with 781,500 out-of-school children. These children are in your communities, on your streets, in the households in your council areas.”
Earlier, the UBEC executive secretary, Hamid Bobboyi, described the menace of out-of-school children in the north as a catastrophe to the development and survival of the region.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abububakar III, said children education was the foundation for economic growth and development of any society.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that UNICEF had said that only one out of four Nigerian children received recommended vaccination annually across Nigeria, a recent report of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5 showed.
The international agency said, although Nigeria made great strides in reducing death of children under the age of five from 158 to 120 per 1,000 births between 2011 and 2016, the coverage of the main vaccines offered through routine immunization had declined.
UNICEF in a statement also added that the immunization coverage for vaccine across the 36 states varied dramatically from 80% in Lagos to 3% in Sokoto state.
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