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Rising Figure of Out-of-School Children Disheartening, Unacceptable - State Education Minister

By Abdulwahab Muhammad, Bauchi

The Minister of State for Education, Honorable Dr Yusuf Sununu has described the rising figure of Out-of-School Children particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria as disheartening and unacceptable.

"The rising figure of Out-of-School Children in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern part is not only unacceptable but disheartening,he stated this at a 2023 Bauchi Education Summit held at Dr Saad Abubakar Hajj Camp Bauchi on Today,Monday.

"There must be concerted efforts to address and reverse the trend of this time-bomb phenomenon", the minister said in the summit theme: "Improving access and Quality Education in Bauchi state".

He noted that at the Federal level, the newly established National Commission for Almajiri and Out-of-School Children is set to commence activities.

According to Dr Sununu, the Commission will address issues an develop mechanism for the integration of Tsangaya/Madarasa schools to be integrated into Basic Education.

While soliciting for the support and cooperation of Ulamas and proprietors of such schools, the minister also called on the sub-national level to come forward with similar agency backed by state laws to serve the same purposes.

He said that the move will facilitate better collaborations and synergy in addressing issues of Out-of-School Children and grant the Tsangaya schools the necessary recognitions and status they deserve.

The Minister, Dr Sununu disclosed that, the Federal Ministry of Education has recently developed a Roadmap captioned 'Education for Renewed Hope', explaining that the document is in alignment with the eight Point Agenda of the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The minister who commended Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state for showing dedication and serious commitment towards improving the standard and quality of education in the state, pointed out that the importance of education to individuals, states and the nation cannot be overemphasized.

He stated that the challenges confronting the Nigeria's education can only be addressed by the efforts of all stakeholders, noting that education being on the concurrent list makes it the responsibility of the Federal and State governments with the bulk burden.

He reiterated that education is the collective responsibility of all and and its failure can well be taken as the failure of the entire country.

According to him, the Federal Ministry of Education recognizes the efforts of Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, especially on his plan to revolutionize the sector by designing an implementable Roadmap that will ensure access to quality and functional education.

The minister commended Governor Bala's pro-activeness in bridging the gaps in the education sector in Bauchi state, adding that history has recorded that he inaugurated the education Committee under the leadership of His Royal Highness, the Emir of Bauchi, Dr. Rilwan Sulaiman Adamu to address the menace of out-of-school children syndrome and poor learning.

Sununu said that the Governor's effort in ensuring continuous Teacher capacity building; the promotion of all teachers and approval for the recruitment of additional teachers, renovation and construction of more schools, payments of examination fees for students, among others is a testament of the Governor's passion to ensure a literate, vibrant and educated society.

While stressing that the challenges in the education sector are enormous, the education minister expressed optimisms that with collective efforts by all stakeholders, the challenges would be defeated.

"With collective efforts, we will defeat the Out-of- School Children syndrome; poor teacher quality, poor teaching and learning environment; gender inequality, among others", he said.

The minister enjoined the participants in the summit to open their minds and utilize the rare opportunities and privilege given to them by the Governor, to x-ray the numerous problems retarding the progress of education in th state.

He urged them to ensure that they come out with practical, implementable, locally acceptable and cost effective means of addressing the challenges.

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