Nigeria/May 10, 2021/By: Tobi Soniyi/Source: https://www.thisdaylive.com/
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Ms. Sadiya Farouk has said providing education for every child is the best way to secure Nigeria.
The minister, in an interview with our correspondent said this informed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the Alternate School Programme.
She noted that Nigeria has more than 13 million children out of school and that the government was determined to make sure that no child was left out of school.
She said: “This is where the Alternate School Programme comes in. It is an intervention programme focused on providing education in a flexible way to out-of-school children while also providing them with social investment Program benefits
“While there are many programmes from government and in the non-governmental space targeted at OOSC, the ASP is different because it also targets the humanitarian and social challenges faced by the OOSC.
“There are many reasons children do not go to school even when the facility is available; for example: their households are unable to afford basic needs, they are pursuing apprenticeships, gender inequalities, social and cultural reasons, they are unable to access school structures etc..
“The ASP will bring basic education to these children so that they are equipped with the education and skills to be part of the social-economy as they grow. Every child has the right to education, no matter their circumstances and the ASP will be part of what ensures that for our country’s children.
“At a minimum these children will be equipped with arithmetic, literacy, basic technology and social studies education. The ASP will also pair the existing Social Investment Programs to their particular circumstances, for example with the Home Grown School Feeding these children will be provided nutrition when they are being schooled.”
According to her, the programme will benefit Nigerians in many ways. Apart from reducing the number of out of school children, the minister said it would also provide the children and their families with social protection.
She said: “Some of these out of school children are loitering around the towns and cities, others are at the markets, some are at the mechanic and spare-parts villages, some are at the motor parks, and many are the Almajiris (many are in Islamic schooling and care, others are just beggars on the streets) who are mainly in the Northern part of our country, etc.
“Most of these children are about 10 – 12 years today. In the next 10 years they will be 20 – 22. Already they are vulnerable to risks including: trafficking of children, stealing children, recruiting children in criminal activities, children on drugs, use of children in cultist activities etc. are consuming many of these children.”
The programme she said would save the children from this risk.
“The long term benefit for Nigerians is that this investment in education coupled with the humanitarian needs of these children being met allows these children to fulfil their potential and be protected as Nigerians”, she added.
She contended that providing education and social welfare to children is an investment for Nigeria’s future.
She explained: “When we invest in our nation’s children, when we provide them with the ability to be productive members of society – that benefits us all. This ASP is an investment into our collective future.
“This is why the President in his wisdom decided to further intensify the education activities reaching these children so that we can be able to mop up as many of these children off the street and inject at least a basic amount of education in their lives to ensure that they either join the formal education system, or they can inclusively participate in nation building appropriately. “
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.