UNICEF Raises Alarm Over Nigeria’s 18.3 Million Out-of-School Children

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed deep concern over the rising number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, which now stands at 18.3 million, making it the country with the highest count globally.

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Dr. Tushar Rane, Chief of Bauchi Field Office, revealed this disheartening statistic during a two-day Regional Stakeholders Engagement Meeting in Gombe aimed at addressing Out-of-School Children and implementing Retention, Transition, and Completion Models in Bauchi, Gombe, and Adamawa states.

“Unfortunately, this positions Nigeria with the challenge of having the largest number of out-of-school children globally,” lamented Rane.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that only 63% of primary school-age children attend school regularly, with a mere 84% transitioning to junior secondary education upon completing primary school, as highlighted by Dr. Tushar.

Various factors contribute to this alarming trend, including insufficient evidence-based policies, inadequate budget allocation, teacher and classroom shortages, poor infrastructure, cultural norms, health and safety concerns, and child labor.

In response to this crisis, UNICEF is collaborating with the Universal Basic Education Commission to develop the “National Framework of Action to Reduce the Number of Out-of-School Children in Nigeria” and the “Retention, Transition, and Completion Model.”

The objective of the two-day meeting is to devise strategies tailored to each state, focusing on reducing the number of out-of-school children and enhancing retention, transition, and completion rates.

“I envisage that after this meeting, we will have clear, targeted, and state-specific strategies that will further ensure that we reduce the rate of out-of-school children and enhance retention, transition, and completion,” Dr. Tushar emphasized.


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