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The Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba has said that bringing every child on board the ship of education is a National priority that every stakeholder must take seriously.
The Minister who stated this today in his keynote address at the National campaign on out-of-school children in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi state, said, no Nation can make meaningful progress with a high number of its youths as illiterates.
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According to the Minister, the high number of out-of-school children is inimical to the growth and development of any Nation.
Hon. Nwajiuba maintained that the Federal Ministry of education is determined to ensure that all children of school age who are out of school are returned and retained to complete their Basic and secondary education and possibly transit to tertiary institutions.
The Minister called for synergy amongst stakeholders especially communities where these children exist to ensure that they are given the necessary support to achieve education, adding that this is the only way we can achieve a better, reliable, developed, and peaceful society.
Hon. Nwajiuba appealed to good-spirited individuals and groups to take responsibility for the education of these children, especially for the orphaned who have no one to carter for their educational needs.
The Minister also called on State governments to upscale their efforts in supporting the Federal Government in the task of educating these children, adding that education is a collective responsibility.
An educated populace, the Minister said is a critical recipe for development and peace in any society.
The Minister also expressed pain over the remaining 14 students who were abducted at the Federal Government College Birni Yauri sometime last year, calling on all hands to remain on deck for the release of the remaining children.
“My heart and soul are with all Nigerian Children who are still in captivity. I stand with the parents in the circumstance. Govt. Will continue to do all it can to free our children who are being held for what they know nothing about” the Minister reiterated.
In his address at the occasion, Kebbi state Governor, His Excellency, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government said, the state is fully committed to eradicating the out-of-School Children phenomenal.
The Gov said Kebbi State has approximately 900,000 out-of-school children. From the inception of this administration, the gov said he has committed over#15.5 billion towards the construction of 552 classroom blocks, boreholes, toilets, and furniture for the course of Out of School Children in the state.
Through a series of interventions, the gov said Kebbi State has put in place a number of strategies, including sensitization and massive enrolment drive as well as the provision of necessary and adequate infrastructure.
Furthermore, His Excellency revealed that 42 nomadic schools have been constructed to provide access to quality education for the children of Nomads and migrant fishermen. Similarly, the Governor said 167 basic literacy centers have been established for the purpose of integrating Almajiris into formal education.
In addition, His Excellency said, 167 basic literacy centers have been established for Adult and Non-Formal education across the 21 Local governments. In his welcome remarks, Chairman of Kebbi State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), Prof. Akpama Simon Ibor indicated that Kebbi State is determined to bring back to school, over 500,000 out of school children within the next two years, adding that over 9000 facilitators are being engaged to handle the program.
Prof. Akpama said, apathy towards western education is fast giving way in the state. Prof. Akpama told the gathering that his commission is currently sponsoring a literacy by Radio program, engaging ruler literacy facilitators, providing teaching and learning materials to non-formal learning centers as well as skills acquisition materials for ruler women. The occasion was attended by dignitaries including Royal fathers across the state.