By Muhammad Sabiu
In a report released by a Lagos-based research firm, SB Morgen, Bauchi is the state with the highest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, with figures rising to 1,239,759.
Figures in the report have indicated that Katsina State is second to Bauchi, with about 873,633 out-of-school children, who might have been prevented from going to school due to so many reasons.
Bringing the above figures, SB Morgen discussed recent occurrences in Kaduna State, which came fifth on the list and where schools remain closed until further notice due to the rising rate of kidnappings and other security challenges in the state.
“The Kaduna State Government has said that all primary and secondary schools will remain closed until the security situation improves across the state,” SB Morgen wrote.
It’s now apparent that one of the major factors that hinder the progress of education in northern Nigeria is kidnapping, which is not quotidian in only Kaduna. Most northwestern states have been witnessing kidnap of students in their hundreds, which usually forces authorities to order the suspension of school activities “until further notice.”
Not only northwestern states, recently, Niger State in the north-central part of Nigeria saw students in their hundreds kidnapped from their school, with many still being held by their abductors.
Officials also lament the general backwardness of education in Nigeria as there are approximately over 10 million out-of-school kids.
The Minister of State, Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, was in June 2021 quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria as saying, “The current challenges affecting the Nigerian education system has left much to be desired, the system is characterised by high illiteracy level, infrastructural decay and deficits.”
“We have inadequate number of qualified teachers, inadequate infrastructural facilities/resources and poor funding,” he added.
The figures, which are said to have been sourced from the Federal Ministry of Education, are presented as follows in order of the size of the number of out-of-school kids:
A’ IBOM: 194,018
CROSS RIVER: 140,944
Looking at the above statistics, out of the first 15 states on the list, only one is in the southern part of the country: Oyo.
Therefore, this calls for more effort and attention of stakeholders to put their shoulder to the wheel to curb this problem of the rising number of out-of-school children.