Education

Obasanjo expresses concern over fate of 20million out-of-school children in Nigeria

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed concern over the fate over 20m out-of-school children in Nigerian, warning the government to act fast in reducing and addressing the challenges to avoid the risk of the children becoming potential Boko Haram members.

Penpushing reports that, Obasanjo expressed the concern on Tuesday while speaking at the National Summit on Tertiary Education Reform organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

The former President at the summit conceived to provide answers to the incessant industrial actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), advised Nigerian Government on need to devise innovative means to reduce out-of-school children.

Lush Arena

Penpushing further reports that, Obasanjo known for his frank talk stressed that there is a need to emphasize primary and secondary education in the country, pointing out that the country missed the target for reducing out-of-school children.

“We missed the road when the whole world was talking of education for all and we did not follow that. It was a bad miss. Education for all! We even had a target date globally. Today, out of the 244 million children out of school, we have 20 million – almost 10 per cent. We continue to miss and we are missing. That is a very bad one,” he said.

Penpushing also reports that, Obasanjo pointed out that children without access to basic education may not be considered part of nation-building, stating that they have not had the opportunity to develop their innate capacity to the extent that they can be useful to themselves and society at large

“They cannot be part of nation building because they have not had the opportunity to develop their innate capacity to the extent that they can be useful to themselves, to their family and to their community, let alone the nation,” he stated.

Penpushing reports that, the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, in is welcome speech warned that the issues that led to the eight-month strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are yet to be resolved.

The Speaker told the gatherings that the House seeks to get answers to resolving the crisis in the tertiary education sector, explaining that the end of the strike did not mean all the issues of funding, education standard, and student and staff welfare had been resolved.

“The end of the strike did not mean all the issues of funding, education standard, and student and staff welfare had been resolved. At the time, I called for the government, universities, unions, and citizens to see the moment as an opportunity to begin the critical conversation about the future of public tertiary education in the country,” he said.

Penpushing further reports that, Gbajabiamila used the occasion on calling on the Senate to pass the students’ loan bill that is awaiting concurrence before the end of this administration, recalling that in 2019 he sponsored Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill

“In 2019, I sponsored, and the House of Representatives passed the Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill to provide access to education financing for students who qualify. That bill is in the Senate, awaiting concurrence. We hope it will get to the president before the expiration of this administration,” he stated.

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