Nigeria: Millions Lack Schooling

`Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school’
By Ayo Okulaja [article from]

[Originally published September 22, 2010 01:43PM

In ranking Nigeria amongst the worst place for a child to be in 2010, a report by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) has stated that Nigeria has more children out of education than any other country in the world.
The report claims that an astounding 8.2 million children are not provided with adequate education in Africa’s most populous country. Comparing the nation’s wealth with the apparent low standard of education, the report claims that “the report is made all the more appalling by the fact that Nigeria is far from poor, by African standards. On paper at least it is among the continent’s richest countries, the world’s sixth largest producer of crude oil. But decades of failure to invest in education have left the basic school system hardly functioning, especially in the country’s impoverished north.”
For Primary education, the report claims many students drop out of the school in their first year of education due to `unequal provision of education’ and this it argued, is caused by the lack of political will to address and arrest the issue. “A lack of political will is a major factor in the country having the highest number of children out of school in the world. Gross inequality in the provision of education has led to 8.2 million children out of primary school with many more dropping out within the first year.”
Poor attendance, imbalanced education
The report particularly criticised the northern region of the country for an abysmal amount of children denied good education. “Over half of these children are in the north of the country, with girls suffering the most with many receiving just six months of education in their lives. In the largely Muslim north of Nigeria……….attendance rates are below 50% at primary school and of those only one in every three pupils is female (nationwide, the proportion is five boys to four girls)” it noted.

The GCE report is coming just as the National Education Council of Nigeria (NECO) on Monday released the 2010 results and over 79% of the students that sat for the examination failed in English language; the nation’s official language.
While over 80% of the students failed the entire exam last year.
Nigeria was however not listed in the list of the bottom 10 countries that are worst for a child. The countries which are predominantly African nations include Somalia, Eritrea, Comoros, Ethiopia, Chad, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Haiti. Tanzania and Mozambique were however commended for halving the number of children out of school, while Rwanda is said to have made strong efforts to ensure that there are enough professionally trained teachers.
The report noted that delivering education for all is highly achievable and brings other poverty dividends such as reducing HIV deaths by seven million and doubling child survival by 50% if mothers are educated.
The President of the Global Campaign for Education Kailash Satyarthi in a statement to political leaders warned “if scientists can genetically modify food and NASA can send missions to Mars, politicians must be able to find the resources to get millions of children into school and change the prospects of a generation of children.”
GCE called on leaders meeting at the United Nations in New York this week, to make funding for education a priority in order to meet the target of universal access to basic schooling by 2015.
It argues that “poor countries should spend 20% of their national budget on education, abolishing school fees and be supported to hire an additional 1.9 million teachers so that every child can have access to education.” It called on rich countries to “direct their aid budgets at the poorest countries or where inequalities of education are most extreme, rather using their aid budgets to underwrite the University systems.
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The report can be found here: