Some children are out of school because they can

Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments, has said some children are out of school because of a levy of as little as 80 Naira.


Uwais who spoke during a Channels Television interview, blamed the country’s population for the increasing figure of out-of-school children.


Nigeria’s out-of-school-children figure stands at 20 million according to recent data by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.


The statistics showed that India, Nigeria and Pakistan have the highest number of out-of-school children globally between ages 6 and 18.


Uwais explained that some children were out of school in Northern Nigeria because of an N80 levy.


She added that state governments must stand up to their responsibilities in reducing the number of out-of-school children.


She said: “We have a population that is growing faster than our economy, and we are not targeting those issues that are increasing the numbers. There are so many differences. We need to determine the reason for these numbers. We need to be more strategic in ways to solve the problem.


“So it is essential to monitor the situation, to get the causation factor being given as feedback. We are under the National Bureau of Statistics; they can analyse the trends and address the issue.


“I will give you an example; I was in one State, I won’t tell you the State, but it is a northern state, I saw 13 children playing, and I asked them, ‘Why aren’t you in school? They gave different things, and they all had aspirations as young children. They said they aren’t in school because of N80 as Parent Levy or something like that.


“Now, if we can use such information coming from all communities or that being the most prevalent issue for out-of-school children, it can be tackled at the state government level because these are hidden levies that impact the ability to go to school.”

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