Nigeria has the highest number of the out-of-school children in sub-Saharan African with an estimation of 13.2 million.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, made this known on Thursday at the launch of Better Education Service Delivery for All, BESDA, in Ibadan.
He however noted that the government was strengthening the quality of basic education in Nigeria to confront factors that denied the children access to Basic Education.
Malam Adamu, represented by the Director, Basic Secondary Education in the Ministry, Dr. Lami Amodu, commended the World Bank for initiating BESDA and the provision of a total sum of $611 million to support the Nigerian Government in strengthening Universal Basic Education as well as addressing the first pillar of the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) 2016 – 2019 on out-of-school children.
“It is gratifying that Oyo State is the second among the 17 states that have successfully commenced the implementation process.
“I am indeed very delighted over the bold step taken by Governor Ajimobi for being the second out of 17 states covered by BESDA to formally launch the programme. This is a clear demonstration of Governor Ajimobi’s quality leadership and his personal commitment to education as well as the passion to revatilise our education sector in order to develop the abundant human capital of the state,” the minister said.
Malam Adamu explained that BESDA was a programme that would result in better life of all children as the cardinal objective was to increase equitable access for out of school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results at the basic education level in the focus states.
He added that ensuring the out-of-school children were back to school and learning would not be only a moral and legal obligation, but also a productive investment that would guarantee the future of children and ensure that their rights were protected as enshrined in the Childs Right Act 2003.
In his address, the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi said that the present administration in the state had done a credible directional road-map to guide the operation of all stakeholders in the education sector.
He noted that the State Government had also spent huge amount of resources with a view to ensuring quantitative and qualitative education service delivery in the state.
Senator Ajimobi said: “It is worthy to note that our government has not defaulted in the provision of matching grants for the provision of infrastructural facilities to enhance basic education delivery in the state. We commend the FG and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for ensuring the quality education at all levels. We cherish and consider a great privilege and wish to assure the Federal Government of Nigeria that the state will put in place all necessary mechanism to ensure the successful implementation of BESDA.”
The Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, said that the commission would continue to evolve revolutionary strategies towards a total overhaul of the Basic Education delivery system by focusing on the paradigm shift from mere inputs-based to result based, stressing that the Commission was investing very hugely on data generation, analyses and reporting by repackaging some of the statutory mandates for better results.
In her welcome address, the Executive Chairman of Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs. Aderonke Makanjuola stated that neglecting Out-Of-School Children (OOSC) would deny them their fundamental rights and jeopardise the country’s pursuit of her home-grown technological development and economic transformation, urging that all hands must therefore be on deck to bring the OOSC back to school.
In his goodwill message, the representative of Association of National Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, ANCOPPS, and Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Oyo State Chapter, Mr. Babajide Emmanuel, said that BESDA was a welcome and laudable development, stating that the programme would take the OOSC children back to school.
Speaking at the occasion, the State Chairman of Parents Teachers Association, PTA, Comrade Toki Abayomi, said that the PTA in the state had set up a task force to deal with students roaming about, warning that parents and teachers of students found wanting would also be dealt with.