Number of Out-of-School Children Hits 536,132 in Katsina

Francis Sardauna in Katsina

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday stated that there are no fewer than 536,132 out-of-school children in Katsina State.

The international children’s agency explained that the statistics of the out-of-school children was revealed by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).

The UNICEF Education Specialist, Kano

Field office, Mr. Muntaka Mukhtar, disclosed this during a media dialogue on Girls’ Education Project 3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom and implemented by UNICEF.

This data is against the annual school census report released by the Katsina State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBE) 2021 which revealed that the state has 775,000 out-of-school children across the 34 local government areas.

The report further revealed that Kankara and Kafur LGAs have the highest number of out-of-school children in the state as a result of banditry and COVID-19 pandemic.

Mukhtar reiterated that one out of five of the world out-of-school children is in Nigeria, while 536,132 out-of-school boys and girls are in Katsina State.

The UNICEF education specialist identified poverty, cultural norms, poor infrastructure, violence and fragility as well as child marriage as barriers to girl-child education in the state and the country at large.

He urged the government, parents, community and religious leaders to prioritise girls’ education, saying better educated women tend to be more informed about nutrition and healthcare, have fewer children, and marry at a later age.

According to him, “When girls are educated, it improves their sense of psychological well-being, reduces the risk of partner violence and reduces the risk of under-five mortality and malnutrition among their children.

“This data was not from UNICEF, but it was according to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) data. Girls’ education goes beyond getting girls into school, it includes ensuring girls learn and feel safe while in school, and having the opportunity to complete all levels of education, and acquiring the knowledge and skills to compete in the labour market.

“It also involves gaining socio-emotional and life skills necessary to navigate and adapt to a changing world, making decisions about their own lives, and also contributing to their communities and the world.”

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