Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in Bauchi has observed that Out of School (OOS) children in Alkaleri Local Government Area in the state, considered to be the LGA that has the highest number of OOS children in the country has drastically dropped.
The board’s director of school services, Korijo Buba Umar said that from the body language of the people, there is improvement in enrolment which, he said, clearly indicate reduction in out of school children.
“Our coming here is government’s effort, it is another way of improvement, advocating to people and sensitizing them. Then the training of SBMCs have been going on throughout the season. UNICEF has also intervene, state government has done its own through home-grown feeding, so all these are avenues to improve on enrolment”.
Mal. Korijo Umar was fielding press questions at Gumchiguni village of Alkaleri Local Government Area during school enrolment assessment championed by UNICEF in collaboration with other stakeholders that included SUBEB, State Agency for Mass Education, Ministry of Education, among others.
“My assessment of the exercise, just like you know, we are here with Development Partners, Ministry of Education, Bauchi state Agency for Mass Education to see the impact met by the NGOs and the Government partners in addressing the issue of out of school children. And from what we have seen and the interaction with community members, there is positive development”, Korojo said.
Korijo expressed optimism that at the end of the assessment exercise, the team will come up with results that will pleased people in Bauchi state that will make them happy, ‘knowing fully that Bauchi was identified as one of the states that has high number of out of school children, and Alkaleri was identified as the LGA with the highest number in the country’.
He explained that after the assessment and the information collated from the Education secretary in Alkaleri, the head teachers, the supervisors and the support school officers which would be compared with the reports before this exercise to give the number of out of school children in the LGA.
“I believe from 2019 to date, if you go to the field today with the correct assessment and you get the information, you find out that the number of out of school children has really drop significantly, because calls have been made, you made contacts, there are contributions from donor agencies and stakeholders, so I believe this 2022/2023 annual school census will give the right figure”, Korijo positioned.
It could be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Education in it’s report for 2022 indicated that Bauchi state has 1, 239, 759 out of school children, saying it is the highest number recorded by any state in Nigeria, though this figure is in sharp contradiction with that of UNICEF which in March, 2023 revealed that Bauchi has 1.1m out of school children.
Glaringly too, UNICEF report in March this year indicates that the agency has returned 650, 265 out of school Bauchi state kids to classrooms, whereas it was widely believe that it is the pangs of poverty that is pushing children in the state to engage in unnecessary street Hawking’s, as vividly being witnessed in Alkaleri LGA of the state.