By Hilary Akalugwu
Prof. Okechukwu Nwaubani, Department of Social Science Education, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), has urged President Bola Tinubu’s administration to prioritise education to reduce the high number of out-of-school children.
Nwaubani made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka on Thursday, while speaking on his expectations from the new government.
He said that the United Nation Educational, Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 2022 report revealed that Nigeria had 20 million out-of-school children which was not a good development.
He said if the present administration prioritises education, all obstacles against children enrollments and what forced them out of school would be addressed.
”This 20 million out-of-school children in the country is outrageous and should give the present administration cause for concern so that something will be done to reduce it to the barest minimum.
“Some of the factors responsible for children leaving school midway are poverty, parents not knowing the value of education and government’s poor funding of the sector.
“Some children withdraw from school because their parents don’t have enough money to pay their school fees and other levies.
“For others, some parents deliberately withdraw their children from school to do some other things because they don’t known the value of basic education,” he said.
The don decried the situation where some governments declared free tuition fees for primary and post-primary schools in their states whereas levies collected from children by school managements are more than any tuition fees paid.
“Some governments will say there is free basic education in their states but if you investigate, you will find out that school levies paid by pupils and students every term is higher than any tuition fees.
“To reduce this outrageous number of out-of-school children to barest minimum, basic education in all states across the country must be compulsory and truly free without any single school levy.
“State Ministries of Education should monitor primary and secondary schools in their domain and sanction any school management found guilty of imposing levies on children,” he advised.
Nwaubani further stated that if nothing stringent was done to reduce the number of out-of-school children, it would affect the number and quality of the country’s workforce in future.
He added that it would also affect the leadership quality since the children are future leaders of the country. (NAN)