The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has expressed concern over the persistent number of out-of-school children in Bauchi State.
The UN Agency also expressed worry over the increased rate of dropout among girls in the state, particularly in the Alkaleri Local Government Area.
The UNICEF Education Specialist in Bauchi, Raphael Ayedipes, who spoke at a community outreach to some selected communities in Alkaleri on Tuesday said the agency is very passionate about the number of out-of-school children, particularly in Alkaleri, adding that the number is alarming compared with other local governments in the state.
According to him, the Agency will embark on a rigorous sensitization campaign to educate and enlighten the community to know the value of education In their children’s lives.
In his words “According to the UNESCO findings which indicate that Bauchi has the highest number of out of school, Alkaleri got the highest among the twenty local government areas in the state.
“UNICEF, however, deemed it fit to embark on creating awareness, sensitization to look for ways of improving the enrollment of school children’s back to classes at their respective schools.
“We hope at the end of the 5-day activities we’ll come up with valid and concrete data to prove our findings and forward the same to the government and authorities concerned for action.”
Meanwhile, residents in Alkaleri LG have blamed poverty and economic hardship as the major obstacles contributing to the number of out-of-school children and dropouts respectively.
A resident, 65-year-old Mal. Baba Barde, with 18 children said that the community has no other options than to allow their children hawk on the streets to get some money to feed their families.
Corroborating Barde, a mother of eight, Hadiza Usman, said lack of financial support from the government and well-to-do individuals have worsened the situation.
In his response, the Director, School of Services in SUBEB, Korijo Buba, said the government is doing everything possible to improve the number of children in schools across all the 20 LGAs.