Nigeria’s Education Challenge: 20,000 Schools Needed for Out-of-School Children – The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has made a startling revelation about Nigeria’s education sector. To accommodate the rising number of out-of-school children, the nation requires a staggering 20,000 additional schools and over 907,000 classrooms.
The Education Gap
A statement issued by Ben Goong, the Director of Press at the Federal Ministry of Education, brought this pressing issue to light. During a briefing with the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Hammed Boboyi, shared these concerning statistics.
The challenge of accurately determining the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria has long been a topic of debate. While a 2022 report by UNESCO estimated around 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, there’s a marked difference in this figure compared to the Nigerian government’s data. The discrepancy arises from the age range considered; while UNESCO’s data encompasses children aged 6-18, the Federal Government’s statistics only consider the 6-11 age group.
A Renewed Focus on Basic Education
Despite the debates, the current administration seems committed to addressing the education crisis head-on. Prof. Tahir Mamman emphasized the fundamental importance of basic education, stating that laying a robust foundation at this level is essential for positive development in other educational tiers and the nation at large.
The Minister called upon all Nigerian states to show increased dedication to basic education, urging them to provide the necessary counterpart funding. He expressed confidence that the upcoming National Census would clarify the discrepancies in the out-of-school children data. With President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the helm, the government is determined to ensure every Nigerian child has access to quality education.
Challenges and the Way Forward
Dr. Hamid Bobo, UBEC’s Executive Secretary, highlighted the infrastructural and manpower deficits as significant hurdles in the commission’s mission to provide equitable access to quality basic education. The pressing need for 20,000 schools and over 907,000 classrooms underscores the magnitude of the challenge.
Nigeria’s education sector stands at a crossroads. While the task is monumental, the commitment of the current administration and its emphasis on basic education provide a glimmer of hope. With the right investments, strategies, and collaborations, Nigeria can ensure that every child has the chance to learn and thrive.