By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
It is worrisome that Northern Nigeria is being looked upon scornfully by the international community because of lack if educational development and poverty.
The Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC(, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi expressed this while delivering a welcome address at the Northern Nigeria Traditional Leaders Conference on Out-of-School Children in Kaduna on Wednesday, organized by UNICEF.
“It is a source of worry and concern that the Northern Nigeria which hitherto had standing history for educational pursuit and development is today scornfully looked down upon nationally and being pitied by the International Community for lack of educational
“That today Nigeria has over 10.5 Million out-of-School Children (with the figure going much higher if IDPs in Boko Haram ravaged North-East and secondary school figures are included), with available statistics showing that more than 80% of this figure is in the North, calls to re-think and active participation of to checkmate the situation,” he said.
He said that the North has to wake up from a long deep sleep.
“Your Excellencies, the challenge that brought us here today which is the menace of Out-or School Children in Northern Nigeria is by no means a lean catastrophe to he overall development and survival of Northern Nigeria. It is cancerous phenomenon which if not address will lead to the collapse of the entire Northern Systems and their total demise.
“The world is moving fast with science and technology and the other parts of Nigeria are struggling to catch up with the rest of the world through their children education, but the north is wobbling and being drawn back by wrong perceptions of what constitutes education and its true value in human and national
“It is in the North that majority of the socio-cultural barriers to formal schooling have found a seemingly permanent dwelling place: Early marriage, especially of girls; pervading almajirai’ all over the northern streets; child labour; negative parental attitudes towards education of their children and wards; low parental literacy level; etc.
“It is therefore my candid opinion that, only the North can adequately address its educational challenges, and the people to lead the process are here;
“Although there are many dimensions to the factors that constitute hindrances to the education of the north which cut across economy and socio-cultural value systems on the demand side, political, governance and educational financing on the supply side, it is pertinent to point out that parental or communal demand for education is a prerogative for them to send their children to school. And that parental or communal demand for education can be a source of pressure on government and individuals to supply the needed inputs for schooling to take place,” he said.
Represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Services, Dr. Yakubu N. Gambo, he pointed out that later opinion underscores the importance of a conference of this nature; to brainstorm howbest traditional rulers can support and facilitate the education of Out-of-School Children in their domains in order to promote the socio-economic development of their emirates and the North generally.
“With the caliber of technocrats, educational policy makers and practitioners in our midst, no one is in doubt that this is the moment for the North,” he added.
He assured all that, with the commitment, guidance and backing of the Federal Government, active collaboration and participation of the International Developmental Partners, Non-Governmental Organizations the Organized Private Sector and other key players in the education industry, the Universal Basic Education Commission will vigorously pursue any agenda that targets eradicating the Out-of-School Children challenge to advance the educational development of Nigeria.
“As I welcome you once again, I will like to wish you happy deliberations and a successful outcome. development and fervid poverty,” he said.