By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate has called on the Federal Ministry of Education to intensify its advocacy programmes and engagement of traditional and religious leaders on the plight of Almajiris and the need to enrol them into the Universal Basic Education (UBE) system.
The Senate, which made this call as part of its efforts to tackle the problem of out-of-school children in the country, said Almajiris need to be major beneficiaries of UBE intervention programmes.
This was contained in the recommendations of the report of the Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) on the need to integrate Almajiri Education into the Modern System of Education in Nigeria.
Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Akon Eyakenyi (PDP – Akwa-Ibom South), in her presentation observed that “the Almajiris, who are predominant in the North, constitute the larger number of out of school children roaming the streets begging for alms and food in Nigeria, and therefore are covered by the intervention policy and programmes of the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004.”
According to the lawmaker, “the implementation of the UBEC Act, 2004 requires maximum collaborations with the State Governments and indeed the domestication of the Act through the State Legislatures.”
She noted that Nigeria had obtained 611 million dollars from the World Bank financed programme – Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), as a credit to specifically address the problem of out-of-school children.
The lawmaker, however, stressed that “optimal operation and implementation of the BESDA Programme as being anchored and implemented by UBEC in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and participation of key Education Agencies, require improved Federal-State-Local level communication, coordination and collaboration to succeed.”