The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has lamented the rising out-of-school children in the state.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had in October last year estimated out-of-school children in Nigeria to almost about 20 million, a figure more than the 10.5 million recorded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2020.
The World Bank had also posited that Nigeria was experiencing learning poverty in which 70 per cent of 10-year-olds could not understand a simple sentence or perform basic numeracy tasks.
Speaking during the launch of a national campaign on out-of-school children organised by the Federal Ministry of Education on Tuesday, the governor ordered the state education ministry to ensure the application of stringent laws passed by the State House of Assembly.
Diri expressed concerns over the data made available on the existence of an estimated 250,000 out-of-school children in the state despite the existence of a law passed by the state lawmakers to address the worrisome trend.
The governor, thus, urged parents to support the government and pledged to ensure full implementation of the law.
He said: “A law was passed by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on this matter in 2018. So, Mr. Minister, Bayelsa State had started addressing the issues long before now. But your coming is key as it has opened our eyes to the level of out-of-school children in our state.
“The issue is mostly about implementation. We have the laws to ensure that our children are educated. This law has to be implemented across all our communities. The Ministries of Information and Education must do all within their powers to ensure that the public is aware of this law and it is implemented.
“It is unbelievable that a law like this was enacted and assented to by a sitting governor yet we have out-of-school children.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on parents to ensure that they take advantage of the provisions of government. There is free primary education. Uniforms and other instructional materials are being provided by government. So, why won’t parents send their children to school?
“We will as a state continue to prioritize education and have a paradigm shift that will be beyond certificates. We have introduced technical education and by our third anniversary we will commission some of the schools.”
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