The British charity, IA-Foundation, has urged the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to take urgent steps to tackle Nigeria’s out-of-school crisis, to restore hope to some 20.2 million out-of-school kids.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of IA-Foundation, Mrs Ibironke Adeagbo, made the appeal in a letter to the president-elect, according to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Adeagbo’s letter comes ahead of a fund-raising event, slated for Kent in England on March 18, to bring global attention to the out-of-school problem in Nigeria.
The event is billed to take place at Bishop Justus CE School in Bromley, Kent, east of England.
It is expected to attract dignitaries, including Nigeria’s top UK envoy, Amb. Sarafa Ishola and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
IA-Foundation, which is active in Nigeria is a British-registered charity, working assiduously in the past four years to tackle the out-of-school crisis in Africa’s most populous nation.
Adeagbo advised the in-coming administration to hit the ground running in tackling basic problems that had made millions of Nigerian children to stay out of school.
She said that government should increase budgetary allocation to the education sector, improve infrastructure and train teachers to turn around basic education in the country.
According to her, although basic education is believed to be free in the country, the entry barriers of registration fees and other payments required before enrollment have made many indigent families to keep their children at home.
“In 2022, we identified over 400 children in Bwari community in Abuja, whose parents could not afford to pay entrance fees of N7, 000 to N8, 000, to be enrolled into government primary and secondary schools.
“For children in this category, they want to get education but it is apparently expensive for their families,” the UK-based Nigerian, a chartered accountant recounted.
Adeagbo also pleaded with the president-elect to partner civil society and development agencies to accelerate development in the country.
“As a foundation, we will continue to remain committed to our vision of ensuring that we reduce the number of children without education in Nigeria,’’ she stated.
She re-stated that IA-Foundation had been able to put over 100 children back to school in nine states in the country, including Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Delta, Nasarawa, Kwara and the Federal Capital Territory.
“We have also donated more than 3,000 learning resources to ensure that no child drops out of school, due to a lack of learning materials.’’
Adeagbo said: “we are not satisfied yet because although what we have done is significant in terms of impact but it’s a drop in the ocean with 20.2 million children out-of-school.
“That is why this year, we are organising our annual fund-raising and charity event, tagged `Securing the Future’, to mobilise resources in the UK to cater for the needs of children in Nigeria.’’
The Federal Government had on Sept. 7, 2022, faulted the recent report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in which it claimed that the number of out-of-school children had risen to a little above 20 million.
Previously, it was estimated that Nigeria has little above 10 million children who are not in school for one reason or the other, but the figure was reported to have risen significantly due to rising insecurity and destruction of communities by armed non-state actors in northern Nigeria and some parts of the south.
The federal government said the statistics does not reflect the true state of affairs in Nigeria, particularly in the subject matter of out-of-school children.
The federal government said it has a reliable template which it uses to determine the number of children born in Nigeria per time, and the number of out-of-school children, maintaining that the figure is not as high as UNESCO had claimed.
The government said it uses reliable template with National Population Commission (NPopC) to calculate this in order to arrive at a reliable and acceptable figure.