The Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, expressed deep concern about the escalating number of out-of-school children, particularly in northern Nigeria, characterizing it as a ticking time bomb that demands urgent attention. He conveyed this message during the 2023 Bauchi Education Summit, which took place at Dr. Saad Abubakar Hajj Camp, Bauchi, under the theme “Nurturing a Flourishing Future: Improving Access and Quality Education in Bauchi State, Daily Trust reports.
Citing recent statistics from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which revealed that one in three children in Nigeria, totaling 10.2 million at the primary level and 8.1 million at the junior secondary school level, are out of school, Sununu underscored the severity of the issue. He referred to the remarks of Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State and Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, who disclosed alarming figures of out-of-school children in their respective states.
In response to the crisis, Sununu outlined the federal government’s initiatives, including the establishment of the National Commission for Almajiri and Out-of-School Children, poised to commence operations. He emphasized that the commission would tackle pertinent issues and devise mechanisms for integrating Tsangaya/Madarasa schools into Basic Education.
Highlighting the “Education for Renewed Hope” roadmap aligned with President Bola Tinubu’s eight-point agenda, Sununu urged the support and cooperation of Ulamas, school proprietors, and sub-national entities to establish similar agencies governed by state laws. This collaborative effort aims to enhance coordination, address the challenges of out-of-school children, and accord Tsangaya schools the recognition they deserve.
Emphasizing the need for a collective approach to tackle the challenges in the education sector, Sununu praised Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State for his dedicated efforts in improving education standards.
In a parallel development, the Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, disclosed that out of the 15,753 teachers who participated in the November 2023 Professional Qualifying Examination, 3,963 failed. While commending the 72.9% pass rate, Ajiboye acknowledged the need for continued efforts to enhance the teaching profession, especially in private schools where a significant percentage of teachers are not qualified. The TRCN intends to focus on private schools in 2024 to ensure improved standards and qualifications among teachers.