Officials of the federal and Lagos State education ministries expressed doubt on the latest global data on out-of-school children by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
UNESCO in September 2022, announced that Nigeria now has about 20 million out-of-school children. It noted that there were 244 million children and youth between the ages of 6 and 18 who are out of school globally. According to the statistics, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan have the highest numbers for out-of-school children.
The Director of Senior Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Binta Abdulkadir, said the UNESCO figure is inaccurate because the federal government has been able to reduce the number of out-of-school children through the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA).
BESDA is an intervention programme funded by the World Bank with the aim to increase equitable access for out-of-school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results at the basic education level.
However, despite the claims of the officials and the actions of the government, many schools in the North-west and North-central remain closed or partially open due to fear of attacks by militants. More than 1,000 learners have been taken for ransom by criminal gangs in Nigeria’s northwest and central states since December 2020. Most have been released after ransom negotiations, but only after weeks or months in captivity, often in appalling conditions in rural camps