By Richard Thomas Ibadan
Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Professor Dahud Shangodoyin has called for collaboration from stakeholders in the education sector to address the menace of out school children in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
Prof. Shangodoyin made the call at the 2-Day policy Dialogue programme on enrollment drive for stakeholders to increase enrolment into Basic and secondary schools in the state, held at Kakanfo Hall in Ibadan.
According to him, the menace of out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million in recent survey carried out by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which showed that Oyo State takes the leading position in the south-west political zone of having close to over 400,000 pupils/students who are not in school.
“I am highly delighted to address you at this opening ceremony of a 2-Day Policy Dialogue on Enrolment Drive for Stakeholders on Strategies to increase enrolment into Basic and Secondary Schools in the state. It is therefore imperative that all hands must be on deck to arrest the ugly trend.”
He said it was in the recognition of this fundamental fact that the present administration resolved to bring all the out of school children back to school adding that the various initiatives are aimed to bring about a strong reform in the state education sector which are in line with the UNICEF’s education programme to support government in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 through improved planning and by addressing some of the systemic barriers that hinder the implementation of effective education strategy.
“The Oyo State government under the leadership of Engr Seyi Makinde has taken it upon himself to restore the education industry to its past glory of excellent performance by announcing free and compulsory qualitative education at Basic and secondary education levels in the state, this which has resulted in increase in enrolment in all public schools throughout the state”
The commissioner while commending the collaboration of UNICEF on the programme said it is important to engage traditional rulers and religious leaders to help in reducing the menace of out of school children in their various locations.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Architect A.K Balogun described the 2-Day interactive meeting as very important in view of the dangerous trend posed by these group of children who are out the street.
“The State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology believe that education is not only the key to societal development but also a veritable tool for the liberation of man from the shackle of ignorance and diseases and a vital instrument in the process of nation building”
According to him, available statistics showed that the number of out of school children in the state is on the high side adding that they are over thirteen million
of which two hundred a d seven two thousand, eight hundred and forty seven is in the state.
He described the collaboration between the ministry and UNICEF as another imperative steps at breaking even in the special and important national assignment.
Speaking with journalist at the programme, Education Specialist Murtala Mohammed who is also the Resource Person at the programme said one of the key areas of attention is the release of money budgeted for education sector, adding that by 2020 the sector should realise 80 percent Budget performance.
“The state should make strategic effort to address the high number of out of school children in the state, while parents any stakeholders should support efforts of governments on the development.