Header Ads Widget

Responsive Advertisement



Adopting UBEC's National Plan of Action in Addressing OOSC Phenomenon in Bauchi State

By Bashir Hassan Abubakar 

Social protection and child development experts across the globe believed that absence of education in a child is one of the key factors that subjects the child to perpetual multidimensional poverty. 

For any child that is caught in such a poverty circle, the prospect of such  child's development into his/her full potential in life is slim when compared to those children that received education in their formative stages. 

At a recent high level stakeholders engagement to address challenges on Out of School Children (OOSC) in the North Eastern States of Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe held in Gombe, United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) Chief of Field office Bauchi, Dr. Tushar Rane disclosed that a staggering 10.2 million primary school-age children and an additional 8.1 million at the junior secondary level are out of school in Nigeria.

This has unfortunately positioned Nigeria as having the largest number of Out-of-School Children globally. 
It is quite disturbing to note that of these numbers, the North Eastern States of Nigeria contributes the highest burden of OOSC in Nigeria.

This position of the North East was prominently captured by the National Bureau of Statistics in the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2021) which was made public. 

A  peek into the MICS 2021 indicates that early childhood education is only 12 percent in the North East as compared to the National average of 37 percent. 

Also, school attendance among children of primary school age is just 48 percent. The survey also reported that school attendance among children of lower secondary school age is 27 percent in the North East. 

More disturbing is the volume of out of school among children of primary school that stands at almost 50 percent, while that of those among lower secondary age is reported to be 47 percent. 

Without mincing words, these percentages should be of concern for any Government both at the National and Subnational levels. Because what this means is that the region may not have a productive human resource if the current trend is not tackled headlong. 

The recent stakeholders engagement meeting that attracted high caliber Federal and State Government officials, State Legislators, Implementing Partners, CSOs and the Media, drawn from Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States was not only seen as timely, but long overdue. 

Organized by UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Field Office, the meeting was tagged "Stakeholders Engagement Meeting on the Out-of-School Children (OOSC) and the Retention, Transition and Completion Models.

The main purpose of that meeting was to engage stakeholders in these states on the need to expedite efforts on reducing the number of out-of-school children (OOSC) and increase retention, transition, and completion of adolescents in secondary schools. 

Specifically, the meeting seeks to build a collective commitment on creating and implementing models for the reduction of the number of out of school children and increasing retention, transition and completion of adolescent boys and girls in secondary education. 

That meeting also serves as a Forum for both State and Non-State actors to come face to face with the reality and magnitude of out-of -school children in their respective states. 

Bauchi State is the worst hit, having the highest number of out of school children in the region  (MICS 2021). The State , according to the MICS 2012 report, is also not faring well in retention, completion and transition of children from primary to junior secondary school. 

Though with the coming of the current administration of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, the State Government has demonstrated its political will and concerted effort to reverse the poor indices associated with education at all levels in the State, but a  public commentator in the State have different views regarding the sincerity of purpose of the State Government in tackling the out of school children phenomenon. 

Mallam Mas’ud Al'amin is an educationist who shared his views with our correspondent saying, "for Bauchi State to come out of the current challenges bedeviling the education sector, the Government must be seen to be backing its political will with action. For instance, there is the need to increase the budget allocation to education and also improve on releases to enable smooth implementation of policies and programs of the Government on Education". 

UBEC's National Plan of Action, a Way Forward 

The National Framework of Action to Reduce Out-of-School Children (OOSC) in Nigeria is One Strategy that, when adopted and implemented by Bauchi State, would bring out the State from the doldrums of its challenges in Education. 

The Framework of Action developed by Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) with support from UNICEF Nigeria, was designed to substantially and systemically decrease the number by halving  OOSC in Nigeria by the year 2030. 

What the Framework of Action seeks to achieve is to: 1- improve access and quality of education for all Nigerian Children, 2- to drive improvements in learning and relevant skills development and, also to accelerate the social and 3- economic development of communities and the country at large. 

No doubt, the relevance of the Framework Plan of Action complements the National Education Plan (2018-2022) by specifically addressing the inclusion needs of OOSC. 

It can rightly be said that the National Framework of Action is triggered by the United Nations (UN) Transforming Education Summit of 2022, which is inline with the "Education for All" initiative and the SDG 4, which aimed to ensure inclusive and, equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

To buttress the efficacy of the carefully developed document, Dr. Tushar Rane, Chief of Field Office Bauchi, said, the Framework and Retention, Transition and Completion Model will guide  respective States in confronting the Out-of-School Children phenomenon.

He said the framework strengthens community accountability, mobilization and uses innovations and technologies to increase access to quality learning and financing of Out-of-School Children in the States.

He assured that UNICEF will play a critical role in the implementation of the Plan of Action contained in the Framework, stressing, "We will not only show some of the good practices from across different States but also globally.

"We will try to provide the technical support, monitoring support, identify what needs to be corrected, all in ensuring that every child matters and none of them is left behind", he emphasized.

Indeed, these were words of encouragement to North Eastern States that are faced with challenges associated with OOSC, but these States need to drive the  implementation of these articulated plans of action. This they can achieve through increased budget allocation,  improved releases,  consistent monitoring and evaluation of the implementation process, providing a safe school environment etc. 

This much was echoed by Dr. Rane when he also harped on the need for sustainability of the programme saying, "the success lies in ensuring the State does it on its own with little support". 

Key Outcome of Gombe Meeting 

One of the key outcomes of the Gombe Stakeholders engagement meeting on the menace OOSC in the Three States of Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe was the commitment made by the legislator of the States. 

At the end of the engagement,  Hon. (Dr) Nasiru Ahmed Ala, a house member in the Bauchi State of Assembly who also doubles as the Chairman, House Committee on Education, assured that he and his colleagues from Adamawa and Gombe States House of Assemblies had unanimously decided to initiate moves to adopt and domesticate the National Framework of Action in their respective states to address the huge challenges of OOSC in their respective States. 

Hon. Ala also pledged to advocate on the floor of the house on the need to take advantage of the National Framework of Action on OOSC, to come up with a bill that will domesticate the document in Bauchi State in the shortest possible time.

He also expressed his optimism on  the buy-in of the Governor of the State in supporting the domestication of the National Framework of Action to tackle OOSC in Bauchi State.

From all indications, Bauchi State and the other Two States of Adamawa and Gombe are optimistic on leveraging pathways offered by the National Framework of Action in addressing Out of School Children. But it is imperative for the Civil Society Organisations and the Media to hold both the Executive and Legislature accountable on their pledges towards successful adoption, domestication and implementation of the proposed National Framework of Action.

Post a Comment