Katsina State government says it has been able to return more than 360,000 out-of school-children to classrooms with support from UNICEF.
Alhaji Abdulmalik Bello, Director of Social Mobilisation, Katsina State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) said this on Wednesday in Katsina.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bello made the declaration at a one-day meeting with newsmen on the Back-to-School and Behaviour Change campaigns.
According to him, in 2018, a report indicated that there were 1.137 million out- of-school children across the 34 local government areas of the state.
“From that time, the state government in collaboration with UNICEF put in place necessary measures to tackle the issue.
“From 2019 to date, we were able to return more than 360,000 out-of-school children to school.
“With the present data we have on the ground through the annual school census report, we still have 775,000 out-of-school children in Katsina State.
“Before the end of 2021, we are aiming to return 200,000 children to school through the support of UNICEF,’’ he said.
Katsina SUBEB Secretary, Alhaji Isa Muhammad, who represented the Executive Chairman, Alhaji Lawal Buhari-Daura, said that the COVID-19 pandemic distracted and affected education in the state.
Muhammad said the state government and UNICEF put in place measures to ensure that after the pandemic, children returned to classes for normal academic activities.
“We came up with this because after the distraction by the pandemic, many parents refused to return their children to school.
“Children stayed long without teaching and learning due to the pandemic. Hence, the back-to-school campaign became necessary.
“The behaviour of the children and their parents towards education also need to be changed so that the children can stay and complete their schooling.
“Information dissemination is fundamental to achieving this target, hence the media is one of the major means of achieving our goals from now to 2030,’’ Muhammad said.
Hajiya Binta Abdulmumin, the UNICEF focal person at the state’s Ministry of Education said Kafur and Kankara Local Government Areas had the highest number of out-of-school children in the state.
According to her, UNICEF and the state government will embark on an enrolment campaign in the two most affected areas to ensure that more children returned to school.
She explained that the objective of the campaign was to ensure that the children returned to school after staying at home for a long time because of COVID-19 pandemic. (NAN)