Nigeria Has Highest Number Of Out of School Children In The World – UNICEF Reveals


May 9, 2024

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed grave concerns over the rising number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, which now stands at an unprecedented 18.3 million, making it the highest globally.

This was revealed by Chief of the UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Dr. Tushar Rane,  highlighted the alarming statistics during a Regional Stakeholder Engagement Meeting on the issue in Gombe.

The meeting, focusing on Out-of-School Children and Retention, Transition, and Completion Models, targeted the states of Bauchi, Gombe, and Adamawa.
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Rane revealed that only 63% of children of primary school age in these states regularly attend school, and a mere 84% make the transition to junior secondary education after completing primary school.

Rane detailed the multifaceted challenges contributing to these dismal figures, which include inadequate evidence-based policies, insufficient budget allocations, a shortage of teachers and classrooms, substandard infrastructure, prevailing cultural norms, and broader health and safety concerns.
Child labour was also highlighted as a significant factor deterring school attendance.
In response to these critical issues, UNICEF is intensifying its efforts in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission to implement the “National Framework of Action to Reduce the Number of Out-of-School Children in Nigeria” and the “Retention, Transition, and Completion Model.”

These initiatives aim to address the root causes of educational neglect and improve school enrollment and completion rates across the country.
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“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. Rane stated optimistically.
The two-day engagement session seeks to develop effective models that not only reduce the number of out-of-school children but also bolster the retention, transition, and successful completion of adolescents in secondary education.

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