From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said his government introduced free education policy in public primary and secondary schools to address the issue of out-of-school children in the state.
The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Education, Dr Adebimpe Aderiye, said this in Ado Ekiti Ekiti, on Saturday when a non-governmental organisation ‘Citizens Intervention and Accountability Network (CIAN)’ submitted a proposal for a possible database for out-of-school children in Ekiti.
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Fayemi praised the organisation for identifying with the state, saying the free Education Policy, Child’s Rights Act, School Feeding Programme, model and farmstead schools, Pad Bank for girls and Gender-Based Clubs, were measures initiated by the government to reduce the scourge.
“Governor Fayemi’s administration remains committed to zero tolerance for out-of-school children in Ekiti. I charge your organisation to study the state model to check the trend and make recommendations on areas that still remain untapped and proffer solutions for partnership.
“I commend your organisation and I promise that this proposal will be carefully and professionally considered after which another meeting will be organised for harmonisation”.
The CIAN’s Programme and Planning Director, Mr Samson Abraham, said the proposed collaborative grassroots information database with the government will help in tackling the rate of out-of-school children in the state.
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Abraham stated that the move became imperative as a result of the alarming statistics reeled out that Nigeria has about 13.2 million out-of-school children.
“And to check the trend, individuals, corporate organisations and others need to assist the government in getting the actual number of victims and how their cases can be settled for them to return to school.
“The statistics in circulation can’t be verified, except it is subjected to on- the- field assessment, so that we can proffer lasting solutions to identified reasons for the rise despite government’s massive investments in the sector.
“I commend Governor Fayemi because Ekiti has the lowest out-of-school children put at 3% compared to other states that have as high as 5%. There is more to be done to achieve a developed society.
“In achieving this, some of our strategic plans include identifying the children and location, reasons for not attending school and their ideology about education while government would be required to provide structures and logistics”.