A bill seeking to establish National Commission for Almajiri Education and out of school children on Wednesday scaled second reading at the House of Representatives .
The Bill was was sponsored by Shehu Balarebe Kakale and 18 other lawmakers.
According to Kakale, the bill is aimed at providing for a multimodal system of education to tackle the menace of illiteracy, develop skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes, prevent youth poverty, delinquency and destitution in Nigeria,
In the lead debate, which was vigorously debated by members, Kakale said Nigeria is among many other countries that is confronted with the phenomenon of out-of-school children.
He said, “Mr. Speaker, as at September 2022, out-of-school children in Nigeria were estimated to be 18.5 million by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). However, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) estimated the same to be 13.2 million.
“The statistics appears even grimmer, judging by the rough estimate of out-of-school children per state in the country.
He added, “Mr. Speaker and my honourable colleagues, the digest of basic education statistics by the UBEC revealed that 10 out of Nigeria’s 36 states were homes to more than half of Nigeria’s out-of-school children, as at 2018.
“The 10 states at the top of the chart had about 5.2 million of the country’s approximately 10.2 million out-of-school children at that time.
Kale argued further, “In no particular order, Kano State had the most with 989,234; Akwa Ibom (581,800), Katsina (536,122) and Kaduna (524,670) followed closely. Taraba had 499,923; Sokoto (436,570), Yobe (427,230), Zamfara (422,214) and Bauchi (354,373) were other states that ranked high on the list.
“States with the lowest numbers of out-of-school children were Cross River with 97,919, Abia with 91,548, Kwara with 84,247, Enugu with 82,051, Bayelsa with 53,079, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with 52,972 and Ekiti with 50,945.
He noted that several challenges are associated with the high number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
“All out-of-school children in Nigeria are at risk of exploitation, vulnerable to recruitment by insurgents, human traffickers and by other criminal elements in the society,” he said.
“In fact, in your address to members of the House of Representatives in this hallowed chamber on January 28, 2020, Mr. Speaker, you were very vivid on the rising number of out-of-school children and the danger it portends for the Nigerian state.
“It is in light of the need to address this menace that this Bill is proposed to the House for consideration. Its intendment is basically to establish the National Commission for Almajiri Education and Out-of-School Children to provide for a multi-modal system of education to tackle the menace of illiteracy.
“Once established, the commission shall be responsible in providing skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes development for children and teenagers through schools to reduce the rate of poverty, and lessen delinquency and destitution in Nigeria,” he concluded.