Poverty, early marriage, others responsible for out-of-school kids - Lai Mohammed

Poverty, early marriage, others responsible for out-of-school kids - Lai Mohammed

- Federal government has lamented the number of out-of-school children in the northern part of Nigeria

- The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said 75% of 13.5 million out-of-school children in north are girls

- Mohammed attributed the increasing number to factors including poverty, early marriage, teenage pregnancy and illiteracy

The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has lamented the growing number of out-of-school children across the country, especially in the northern part of the country.

Mohammed registered his concern on Monday, April 8, during a two-day media dialogue on Cash Transfer Programme organised by the United Nations Children Funds, The Nation reports.

Legit.ng gathers that the event was organised in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in Birnin Kebbi.

Speaking against the backdrop of north accounting for higher percentage of 13.5 million out-of-school children in the country, the minister, who was represented by the CRIB director, Uche Chuta, attributed the menace to poverty, early marriage, teenage pregnancy and illiteracy.

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According to him, girl-child education is a major issue of concern in the developing world, especially in the Sub-Sahara Africa, where a large number of young girls do not attend school.

He said: “It is however more worrisome that Nigeria is counted to be among the West African countries that have the highest number of girls that are out-of school and that more than 75% of the 13.5 million children out-of-school are girls.

“Barriers to girls’ education in Nigeria, particularly in the northern parts, have been identified to include a wide range of causes. They include poverty, early marriage, illiteracy and teenage pregnancy, all of which have grave consequences for both the girl child and the society at large.

“The federal government is in the forefront of enhancing massive school enrollment attendance and completion by school -aged children through various child development policies including the National School Feeding Programme."

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Also speaking at the event, the state project coordinator of Educate, a-child/UNICEF, Kebbi state, Isah Usman, said the goal of the EAC/CTP project is to expand access to basic education to 501,749 children out of the 13.5 million that are out-of-school in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states by 2020.

According to him, about 41,391 children have benefited from the intervention programme by UNICEF in Kebbi state.

Usman also disclosed that Kebbi and Zamfara states are the most educationally disadvantaged states in the country, adding that UNICEF will facilitate intervention programmes to help reduce the number of out-of-school children in the states.

He said: "To change this ugly situation, UNICEF has contributed to the expansion of girl education through its Girls Education Project (GEP -Phase 3) 1, 2 and 3 projects. This is done through reduction in the poverty level by expanding the education level of the girl child as many parents cannot afford the education of their children.

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The overall goal of EAC is to expand access to quality basic education for 501,749 out-of-school children by 2020 in Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara state. The cash transfer intervention under the EAC aims to reach 41, 391 child beneficiaries and their female caregivers in four years, 31, 044 in Kebbi state and 10, 347 in Zamfara state."

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that despite their aversion to western education, Boko Haram members who were in jail had shown interest in western education as 157 of them sat for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The disclosure was made by the controller general of prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed, who also said some of those that sat for the exams were processing their admissions to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

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