From Saka Bolaji, Minna
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has concluded plans to collaborate with the media in Nigeria to ensure high increase in school enrollment in Nigeria which has 10.5 million out of school.
This was part of the agreements reached at the 2017 National Enrollment Campaign Planning Meeting with heads of media agencies aimed at building a collective responsibility for reaching out of school children in the country which is currently at alarming rate.
The meeting has discovered large number of children out of school majority girls, low child registration and inadequate infrastructure and educational facilities especially in public schools in Nigeria just as non-implementation of Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC act also contributed to the problems.
The communiqué reached at the end of the meeting called for a closer collaboration between the UNICEF and media to curb the menace while urging UNICEF to embarked on high level advocacy to federal, states and government and private owned media houses to established partnership.
Meanwhile, the print media should begin to write articles, special reports and features on the out-of-school children phenomenon and how to curb the situation, with emphasis on the future consequences.
The event was organized by Federal Ministry of Education, UBEC in partnership with UNICEF Nigeria on ‘girl education project phase 3’ which had agreed on the roles and share responsibility of each of the stakeholders.
Head of media UNICEF, Mallam Rabiu Musa expressed satisfaction over the response from the ten participating states of the federation, saying that Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are unlikely to meet the target of education for all children by 2020 if nothing is done now.
While charging for the registration of children in Nigeria be given priority to enabled it have proper planning hence about 70% of children in Nigeria are not registered at birth with 25 million out of school comprising 15 million girls and 10 million boys in the country hence to increase the enrollment of the girl-child in Nigeria.
States at the meeting included Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Katsina, Bauchi, Adamawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Kaduna and Ebonyi
At the event were political office holders, traditional rulers, clerics and the media.
It was stated that the major reasons for the high numbers of out-of-school children in Nigeria were poverty, distance, preference and socio-cultural norms and practices, which the gathering said must tackled head on.