In efforts to ensure every child acquire basic education, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pledged to collaborate with the Kano State government.
Dr Euphrates Efosi Wose, Chief Education, UNICEF Nigeria, made the pledge at a two-day Stakeholders Summit, on “Free and Compulsory Basic and Secondary Education” in Kano.
She said the support was necessary so as to ensure that all children in the state have access to quality basic education, for their learning and self-fulfilment. “Education is a right enshrined in articles 28 and 29 of the UNCRC and further in the Nigeria Constitution. “Education is also a driver of equity, poverty reduction, empowerment, peaceful and inclusive societies and economic growth, ” she said. The UNICEF official said; “It is painful to understand that around 14.7 million children in Nigeria are not getting access to education. “And Kano is the state that has the highest number of out-of-school children in the whole Nigeria, having around 1.5 million out of school children, ” she said. According to her, the summit would provide unique opportunities for stakeholder at all levels to discuss various aspects of education beyond the lenses of the government. “Indeed, it is not just the government that holds the stake for ensuring that all children learn. “Parents and communities have critical roles to play, not only enrolling their children at schools at right age, but also by monitoring if their children are receiving a quality education,” she said.
She said that UNICEF was also keen to learn the positive outcomes from the discussions in the Summit and to be part of the solution and implementation in collaboration with other stakeholders. Wose said because of the strategic importance of Kano state in addressing the challenges around the rights of Nigerian children, UNICEF had established a Field Office in Kano. She commended Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje for making commitment to ensure that Kano children enjoy Free and Compulsory Basic and Secondary Education. “Being guided by the UNCRC, UNICEF’s mission is to promote the full attainment of the rights of all children, especially the most disadvantaged, “she said. She also commended the Department for International Development (DFID) for funding the Girls Education Project Phase 3. Similarly, Ganduja said government had set aside N2.4 billion for the maintenance of 1,180 public primary and secondary schools in the state. “We have earmarked N2.4 billion for a year for the funding of 1,180 primary and secondary schools with total number of 834,366 pupils,” he said. The governor said that the state government spent N318 million to provide free school uniforms for 779,522 newly enrolled pupils. ”The state government will also employ 3,000 voluntary teachers in order to reduce teaching deficiency,” he said. According to him, there are over eight million out of school children in Nigeria with one million of the children in Kano State alone. “It is more alarming to know that 57 per cent of that figure represents girl-child and most of those out of school children are in the 10 Northern states and regrettably one million of the children are in Kano.”(NAN)