Imo and Ekiti States rate lowest on Out Of School Children
By Temitope Mustapha, Abuja
The lowest Out Of School, OSC rates in Nigeria are now found in Imo State and Ekiti State with 1% and 2% respectively.
The UNICEF Chief Of Data, M4R, Claes Johanson stated this at a two-day Media Dialogue jointly organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and the Child Rights Information Bureau, CRIB in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, South-south Nigeria.
Johanson who gave an overview of MICS 6 report in the media dialogue held with media practitioners said; ”the OSC data and other SDGs indicators were contained in the recently launched Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey 6, MICS, result.”
He further stated that ”the highest rates of Out Of School in Nigeria now resides in Kebbi State with 65% rate, Zamfara 61%, and Bauchi State 61% rate.”
According to the UNICEF Data Expert, ”among children and adolescents aged 7-14years, only 27% have foundational reading skills and only 25% have foundational numeracy skills.’‘
Johanson identified increasing population growth as a factor threatening a positive impact on the out-of-school trend, saying one out of four Nigerian children between the ages of 7 and 14 years are out of school while only one out of four learn in schools.
He said; “The MICS 6 report revealed poor foundational reading and numeracy skills.”
Data on the 2018 Digest of Basic Education Statistics by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) showed that Kano, Akwa Ibom, Katsina, Kaduna, Taraba, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara, and Bauchi States have the highest number of OSCs.
MICS6 Report On Child Marriage
Speaking on Child Marriage, Johanson said MICS 6 recorded a decrease in child marriage in Sokoto state.
He said; “We also see that there is room for improvement everywhere, particularly in education.
“For the first time we are looking at children that are learning and we see that only 25% at grade level in terms of reading and mathematics and one out of four children does not even go to school so the number of out-of-school children is still one in four and that is the same as five years ago so continuing education is the most important thing.”
Johanson stated that Child marriage in Sokoto State has reduced.
According to him, Child marriage used to be one in four but now it’s one in three girls that marry before the age of 18.
“We see that the child marriage dropped so Sokoto State has improved on that more than the other states, we are here to find out so that other states can learn what others are doing in terms of reducing the age of child marriage,” he explained.
Johanson emphasised that MICS 6 showed that Girl child education plays a huge role in early marriage and Sokoto and Zamfara have not improved much in out-of-school children.
He said; “Girls’ education has a huge impact on everything from health to the education of the child of the next generation this is now where the education system must step in.”
UNICEF Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku said; ”MICS 6 is an improvement on previous 5 years yet it presented indices on poor performance on health, education and other areas of SDGs across the 36 States of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory.”
The media dialogue was organized to look into factors responsible for poor indices specifically as to why some lingering challenges remain in some parts of the country.
Njoku said; “We have some good figures and we also have some that are not so good so we want to know why some of these indices are not very good we have to look at it from, could it be wrong identification of application of funds, could it be non-application, could it also be wrong identification of where to apply the funds?.”
Njoku stressed that political will was needed with marked resources to intervene with a positive impact that would yield better results on the issues of the Sustainable development goals.
He called for more actions, and better interventions to make a significant difference in reducing the number of out-of-school children in states with prevalence.
Njoku added that ”the dialogue was held to get good and better results in five years from now on health, education, and SDGs through our reports in various media platforms.”
About 50 Media practitioners attended the media dialogue with UNICEF in Port Harcourt.