By: Our Correspondent
KANO, North-West, Nigeria – The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNIEF) has lamented the high number of out of school children in Kano State, saying there are over 1 million children out of classroom in the state.
UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, disclosed this on Monday, August 5, 2019, at the opening of a four-day Advocacy Workshop for Ensuring Sustainability of Results for Children through Social Policy for Commissioners of Budget and Planning and other key stakeholders from 19 Northern States of Nigeria.
According to him, the figure of the out of school children, which comprised formal and informal, was obtained from the Federal Ministry of Education.
He noted that Nigeria needed to redouble efforts in addressing the critical issue of out of school children and in improving investment in the education sector.
He explained that the results achieved in a country as complex, dynamic and diverse as Nigeria can impact not only on the West African region but the entire African continent.
“Investing on the children is like investing in the future and also the economic development of the country. Therefore, there is a need for every child to have access to education.
“This is why collectively we strive to improve the situation of children who are the powerhouse and future of this country.
“The most recent official figure in 2010 from the National Bureau of Statistics indicates that Nigeria’s national income poverty rate is 62.6 per cent with 63.8 per cent of it, constituting the rural poor,” he said.
Hawkins therefore said the meeting was to concretize strategic approach with the northern states governments for advancing social inclusion especially child rights in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe, said the meeting was apt as policy makers and technocrats needed to review and take stock of their performances in the last four years and make projections for the next four years.
Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Social Development in the ministry, Alhaji Abdulkadir Saadu said that the last four years had been spent on experimentation of new ways of governance.
He said that the next four years would be a time to consolidate on best practices and ensure positive change that would bring about growth and development.
According to him, it is in the public domain that Northern states of Nigeria bears the burden of the country’s poor social indicators.
“Therefore, if Nigeria must improve the human development index and move to become one of the biggest economies, the challenges facing Northern Nigeria must be addressed.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Kano State Deputy Governor, Dr Nasir Gawuna, said the workshop was designed to increase knowledge on all key Social Policy Pillars, to provide information and share experience on on-going and planned activities.
He said that the meeting will also support in mapping Social Policy Interventions in each State of the Federation; pointing out that the opportunity would also be explored to mainstream policy and programmatic interventions that was sustainable and related to achieving key results for children and vulnerable population.
“I would like to inform you that Kano State Government has targeted numerous Social Policy Programmes since it came into power from 2015 to date.
“The policies are aimed at improving and enhancing access to basic social services intended to benefit vulnerable groups, rural dwellers, youth and women, persons with disabilities, orphans, disaster victims and other less privileged groups across the state,” he said.