COVID-19 : Stakeholders Strategize To Reduce Out-of-School Children

Funmi Lawrence



Stakeholders in education on Wednesday began brainstorming on strategies to adopt in tackling the problem of out-of-school children during the period of and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the stakeholders spoke in separate interviews with newsmen on the sideline of a two-day inaugural meeting of the National Enrollment Drive Steering Committee.

They said it was important to re-assess the functions of the committee in respect of the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 18-man committee was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, on June 5, 2020.

Alhaji Bello Kagara, the Director, Social Mobilisation, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) said the committee was out to develop an action plan to facilitate activities of the Federal Ministry of Education and UBEC.

He added that it was important to adopt strategic approach that would advocate and sensitise stakeholders, especially at the community level to ensure more children are enrolled in basic education across the country.

“We will be conducting enrollment drive activities to address out-of-school children, mobilise children who are in school but currently forced out of school to be learning from their homes due to the pandemic.

“We will also mobilise strategies to ensure children are enrolled and be in school in the post COVID-19 era.

“The committee is expected to ensure that various stakeholders at all levels participate in the enrollment drive and also develop a sound and workable framework with stipulated roles and responsibilities of key actors to ensure success at the end of the exercise,” he said.

Mrs Kyauta Giwa, Education Project Coordinator, ActionAid Nigeria, said it was important for all children to have access to quality and basic education.

She added that to ensure all children are back to school after the COVID-19 pandemic, there must be positive behavioural change on the part of all stakeholders.

Mr Adeleke Damian-Mary, Programme Officer, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), called on the state governments to ensure the success of the enrollment drive.

He added that whatever action plan the committee develops will not be successful, if state governments do not support and implement it in their various states.

The committee comprises members from Federal Ministry of Education, UBEC, UNICEF, National Orientation Agency (NOA), National Commission for Mass Literacy Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) and the media among others.

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