The United Nations Children Fund has decried the growing number of out-of-school children in the North-East, saying the region was experiencing a severe learning crisis.

According to the global body, three out of four school children cannot read or solve simple maths before they get to Primary Six.

The UNICEF In-country Chief of Education, Saadhna Panday- Soobrayan, stated this while speaking on UNICEF’s intervention, during a media dialogue organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information, in collaboration with UNICEF, held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

She said the UN agency, through the Global Partner ship for Education Accelerated Funding project, which is a $21.4 million grant, had supported the training of 18,000 unqualified teachers working in the North-East to study and pass the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria qualifying examination in the three insurgency-ravaged states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

The Executive Chairman, Borno State Universal Basic Education Board, Prof Bulama Kagu, said the falling standard of education in the country was real as some graduates from tertiary institutions in the country were unable to read and write.

“But it tells us that we must not just fold our arms and watch but we should put in policies to ensure that the educational sector is revamped. The contributions of UNICEF and other partners is therefore apt,” he added.

The UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong Nguyen, said only 29 per cent of schools in the region had teachers with minimum qualifications.

She added, “The average pupil-teacher ratio is 124 to 1. Almost half of all schools need rehabilitation. Only 47 per cent of schools in Bormo have furniture with lower proportions in Yobe (32 per cent) and Adamawa (26 per cent).

In Adamawa, only 30 per cent of schools have adequate learning materials for pupils with lower proportions, ( 26 per cent ) in Borno and (25 per cent) in Yobe.

“It is therefore little wonder that according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS 2021), less than half of the children complete their primary school education in North East Nigeria.”


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