FG moves to reduce number of out-of-school children in Ebonyi

By Angela Mbaocha, Abakaliki

Federal Government, with support from the World Bank has commenced the implementation of the Better Education Service Delivery for All, BESDA, programme in 17 focus States across the six geopolitical zones in the country, according to the Chairman National Population Commission, NPC, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwara.

He made the disclosure on Monday, during the National Population Commission’s official launch of the 2020 Nigeria Education Data Survey, NEDS, in Ebonyi State.

The programme tagged ‘State Dissemination and official launch of the 2020 Nigeria Education Data Survey Ebonyi State’ held at Osborne La Palm Hotels, Abakaliki, was in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education with support of the World Bank.

In his address, Chairman NPC, Isa Kwara, said that the conduct of the 2020 Nigeria Education Data Survey was a fulfillment of the commission’s constitutional mandate to provide demographic data for planning purposes through the conduct of periodic censuses and surveys, adding that the commission generates demographic data from national censuses.

He said by responding to the imperative of providing data for national planning, particularly in the education sector, their mandate was being fulfilled.

Kwara noted; “BESDA is an intervention programme that seeks to among others, reduce the number of out-of-school children, improve literacy rates and strengthen accountability in the education sector especially at the primary and junior secondary school levels in Nigeria.

“The BESDA project which is anchored on a Programme for Results (PfR) operation, means that evidence of improvement in school intake and literacy level must be seen in the BESDA focus States before such states can be given support in terms of funding to increase in scale.

“The 2020 NEDS is a nationally representative sample survey that took place in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory with special focus on the 17 BESDA intervention States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Ebonyi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kastina, Kebbi, Niger, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara respectively” he stated.

He explained that the 2020 NEDS report will increase education data availability and set a trend for planning, monitoring and measuring education indicators in Nigeria in both the BESDA focus and non- focus States.

Adding; “the specific objectives of the 2020 Nigeria Education Survey include, to produce education data that will produce indications to verify reduced number of out-of-school children and improved literacy rates in BESDA’s 17 focus States. To provide data on the schooling status of Nigeria school-age children, disaggregated by sex and age and to provide household education expenditure estimates disaggregated by rural and urban household”, the chairman added.

He said 2020 NEDS was carried out in 9, 711 Enumeration Areas in the focus-states while 458 Enumeration Areas were covered in the Non-focus -states bringing the total number of Enumeration Areas to 10, 169 across the country. And a total number of 39, 028 households were selected and interviewed in the focus States, while the Non-focus states had 1,832 selected households interviewed, bringing the combined total to 40, 676 households in both rural and urban areas across the country.

“To ensure that the 2020 NEDS met its lofty objective of providing the much needed data for educational planning , the Commission adopted a meticulous and scientific approach at every stage of the survey. The training programme was designed to sharpen the interview skills of the data collectors who were carefully selected to participate in the data gathering process. They had one month of rigorous training in Saminaka, Kaduna State.

Ebonyi at the event was encouraged to do its utmost to return children who dropped out of school.

Some parents that also spoke said that most times the distance from government schools is much from their houses and that the fees are high. They raised the issue of overcrowding and the safety of their children in government schools.

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