By Philip Yatai
The Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (Kaduna SUBEB) has begun a campaign to enroll 145,553 out-of-school children in schools, under the World Bank-supported Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme.
Mrs Esther Jibji, the Board’s Desk Officer Area I Lead, BESDA, made this known at the opening of a one-day stakeholders’ sensitization on enrolment of out-of-school children in Kaduna.
Jibji explained that BESDA, which began in the state in 2019 was specifically designed to address the menace of out-of-school children.
She said that the board has enrolled over 500,000 out-of-school children in school in the first phase of the programme, of which 312,785 children have been verified by the National Population Commission.
She added that the state has secured additional grants to return more out-of-school children to school, stressing the need for the stakeholders’ sensitisation.
“This is why we organised the sensitisation to solicit the support of parents and caregivers, religious and community leaders to ensure that every school age child is enroll in school.
“As you may have noticed, despite Kaduna SUBEB efforts to enroll all children in school, some children are still roaming the streets during school hours.
“Education for all is the responsibility of all. We need the support of all stakeholders to ensure that no child is left behind,” she said.
The desk officer identified some of the out-of-school children as children roaming the streets, children from poor and vulnerable households, children with disabilities, girl child, and nomadic children among others.
She said that some of the children could be found on the streets, motor packs, farms, while others were hidden in their houses due to their disability.
She also said that Kaduna SUBEB has established non-formal learning centres in some parts of the state.
According to her, the measure is part of efforts to take learning opportunities to the doorsteps of children who could not attend formal schools.
In her remarks, Hajiya Farida Ibrahim, Education Secretary Kaduna North Local Government Education Authority, described the BESDA programme as “crucial” to addressing the problem of out-of-school children in the state.
Ibrahim urged parents and caregivers to enroll their children in school to acquire quality education needed to live a quality life and contribute to social development.
Also, Kabiru Lawal, acting Director, Social Mobilisation, Kaduna SUBEB, urged religious leaders to sensitise their followers during sermons in Churches and Mosques.
Lawal said that primary one to three pupils were being supported with learning materials including uniforms under the programme.
Also, Malam Salisu Lawal, Director, Planning and Physical Development, Ministry for Education pointed out that the government needs the support of community stakeholders to succeed.
Lawal urged community members and other stakeholders to contribute their quota in the efforts to take children off the streets to schools where they can learn.
Malam Usman Sani, Chairman, School-Based Management Committee (SBMC), Kaduna South Local Government Area, said that the SBMC would work with community leaders to identify and enroll out-of-school children in school.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that BESDA, a Programme for Result (P for R) was initiated by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) with support from the Federal Ministry of Education.
The programme began in 2019, with a 611 million-dollar loan from the World Bank, which the Federal Government gave 17 participating states as grant.