FG has so far enrolled 2m out-of-school “Almajiri” children in basic education, says minister

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 The Federal Government has enrolled two million out-of-school “Almajiri” children in basic and Arabic literacy programmes.

Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman , made this known at the Citizens and Stakeholders Engagement on Nigerian Education Sector Ministerial Deliverables in Abuja on Tuesday.

NAN reports that President Bola Tinubu, on assumption of office organised a Cabinet Retreat for the Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and top government officials to prepare and sensitise them on the workings and processes of his administration.

This is with a view to ensuring that Ministries, Departments and Agencies deliver on the Presidential Priorities of the Renewed Hope Agenda for 2023 – 2027.

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“To deliver on the mandate of the president, there is need to engage with stakeholders to provide opportunities to critically examine the progress in the implementation of 23 Ministerial Deliverables.

“It is one of the major focus of this administration to reduce the numbers of out-of-school children. While the commission set up to reduce this number, the problem of out-of-school is still ongoing.

“What we reported is the outcome from other agencies of the ministry that are doing their own part to ensure the problem is addressed,” he said.

Regretting the recent kidnap of some students of University of Calabar, he said the ministry is working with security agencies to bring back the students and as well getting TETFund to help fence the university.

Speaking further, the minister said that in months, the ministry had been able to develop guidelines and training manuals for the implementation of inclusive basic education.

According to him, these have helped increased access, enrolment, and retention completion at both basic, secondary, and tertiary school levels.

Corroborating this, the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu said the ministry deployed technology in education to promote learning as well as promoting skills development and acquisition at all levels.

Sununu said this would address teachers and learning crisis at basic education level

“We quite believe that there is a need for strong team approach in addressing the numerous challenges confronting our education sector.

“Education being a tool for individual, community, country and global development cannot be treated in isolation.

“It was in realisation of this that International Labor Organisation classified education as exportable commodity. By extension therefore, the need for both local and international collaboration becomes a necessity,” he said.

Also speaking , the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Jamiu Alli-Balogun expressed worry over increment in WAEC fees to N27,000, noting that most parents could not afford to pay such.

He appealed to the federal government to come up with policy on how the fees could be subsidised so as to give Nigerian children quality and affordable education.

On the out-of-school challenges, he said the recent inflow of children from other parts of the country to Lagos state was constituting a problem, saying if not handled could spur more social vices.

Also, the Commander, National Safe School Response Coordination Centre, Dr Hammed  Abodunrin said it was time the country took security of the citizens serious.

Abodunrin said there was need to give security education to the citizenry, noting that the centre in collaboration with the education ministry was ready to take-off security education in schools.

On his part, Dr Mikayla Ibrahim, Education Adviser of the British High Commission, said the UK Government has supported Nigeria’s basic education through the implementation of the GEP III project.

According to him, the GEP project has giving about 1.5m girls access to learning.

The GEP project, he said, has also worked well in the Reading and Numeracy as well as the Cash Transfer Programme.

NAN reports that among the deliverables the ministry is expected to work on are: strengthening research and innovation in education sector, reviewing the status of technical and vocational education board, strengthening the education management information system. (NAN)

By Funmilayo Adeyemi

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