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UNICEF, Gombe State plan to reduce number of out-of-school children

UNICEF is collaborating with Gombe State to develop a four-year action plan to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the state.

Its education specialist in the state, Mr. Abdulraham Ado, made this known when he spoke with newsmen in Gombe on Thursday.

He spoke on the sidelines of a policy dialogue between relevant education stakeholders on addressing the issue.

He said UNICEF had developed a national framework of action to reduce the number of out-of-school children, and it was looking towards domesticating the national framework at the state level.

“We brought stakeholders together to look at the policy framework, and we have even domesticated the framework at the state level.

“What we are doing now is developing a specific action plan on how to reduce the rate of out-of-school children,’’ he said.

Ado added that the national framework addressed learning in school and learning out of school.

“Stakeholders are also to look at how the education system would be strengthened to improve access to quality education.

“As we discuss out-of-school children, those children in school should not be left behind.

“We want to examine how we can evolve innovative strategies to ensure that quality learning takes place in schools,’’ he said.

In her remarks, Gombe State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Aishatu Maigari, noted that insurgency in the Northeast had led to the influx of internally displaced persons into Gombe State.

This, she explained, had exacerbated the burden of out-of-school children on the state.

She noted that education facilities in the state had been overstretched.

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“In 2019, the number of out-of-school children in Gombe State was 550,000, and now it is about 700,000.

“Hypothetically, if we budget for 20 pupils in our classroom, we will find out that there are 50 pupils, and 30 of the pupils are not even from Gombe State,’’ she said.

Maigari commended UNICEF for partnering with Gombe State in the area of education.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders at the dialogue included traditional and religious leaders, civil society organisations, and staff members of the State Universal Basic Education Board. (NAN)

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