Nigeria’s education minister, Adamu Adamu, says the country accounts for 12.4 percent of out-of-school children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Adamu spoke on Thursday in Benin as part of the activities to mark the 2023 education week of the Edo government.
NAN reports that the minister said school closure and the non-return of children after the COVID-19 pandemic heightened the figure of out-of-school children.
Olatunji Davis, director of basic education in the ministry who represented the minister, said data from the 2018 national population audit shows that 10.5 million Nigerian children are not in school.
“Our education challenge is an open secret; out of 258 million out-of-school children worldwide, an estimated 62 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa”, he said.
“Nigeria is said to account for 12.4 percent of the out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its future. It is a powerful agent of change which improves health, livelihoods, contributes to social stability and drives long-term economic growth.
“The return on investment in education is very high; therefore, there must be no compromise on quality.”
Mr Adamu added that the June 12 presidential declaration on the implementation of free and compulsory basic education for children in the first nine years of schooling emphasised the government’s commitment to achieving Universal Basic Education (UBE) as stated in the UBE Act of 2004.