The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman has assured that the federal government is already working to ensure the reduction of the number of over 20 million out-of-school children in the country.
Mamman disclosed this during his commissioning of an office complex for the National Commission for Almajiri and Out-of-School Children Education on Friday in Abuja.
Recall that the Commission was established in 2023 to tackle the menace of illiteracy amongst the Nigerian children and develop skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes to prevent youth poverty, delinquency and destitution in Nigeria.
Mamman stated that the office accommodation, which will serve as the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja, was to ensure nothing distracts it in its job to ensure that many more Nigerian children have access to education.
“The work has already begun. The phase we have now entered is action and implementation. The talking time is now over. The time for us to do the work has already started. It is good that by the end of the year, the mileage will be clear as to the directions we are heading,” he said.
He added that the ministry will ensure that there is a synergy between the new commission and other commissions handling the issue of out-of-school children to ensure that there are no bureaucratic bottlenecks and wastage.
“As I have always said, we have talked for too long in Nigeria, with very little results in critical areas; particular education and most still at this basic education where most of the young ones are. This is the time for us to face squarely and forcefully this monster, which is causing problems everywhere in the country.
“When you see rallies by our politicians or even when something happens in any city in Nigeria, the sea of heads you see; like last time when there was a demonstration in Minna on the rising cause of feeding, you could see that 80 percent of the people out there were young boys and girls. That shows us the dangers we have to address immediately.
“Time is not on our side. We are a democratic constitutional government. We have a time frame for four years, and we have eaten into six months already. So our push is determined by this sense of urgency in which we have to address the problem, and we have the determination to do it,” he said.
Mamman called on development partners and other stakeholders in the sector not to relent in their support, stressing the importance of working together in finding solutions to the “national problem”.
Speaking during his address, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Sha’aban Sharada stated that the opening of the Commission’s headquarters was “a symbol of hope and a beacon of opportunity for millions who have been denied their right for access to education.”
He disclosed that when he was appointed, he was charged with coming up with an actionable strategic plan for the provision of qualitative, quality and inclusive access to basic education and vocational training to the high out of school children and Almajiri for their livelihood and self-reliance.
Sharada added that though the challenge of returning 10 million out of school children to school by 2027, according to the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President, it was a challenge he had not only accepted but embraced with doggedness and determination.
“We will work with religious and traditional rulers, members of the diplomatic corps, NGOs, and many others who share our vision for an education empowered generation. The road may be long, but the destination is clear,” he noted.
The event had representatives of UNESCO, World Bank, including other development partners who pledged to support the new Commission in achieving its set goal.
‘Time Is Not On Our Side’ – Education Minister Demand Urgent Action In Tackling Out-Of-School Children Menace is first published on The Whistler Newspaper