By G9ija

The Federal Government yesterday said it had enrolled 924,590 out-of-school children under its Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme in 17 states.

The government explained that with the enrollment, the nation’s out-of-school children figure had dropped to 9,269,328.

A National Personnel Audit (NPA) Report conducted by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in 2018 said Nigeria had 10,193,918 children that were not in school, with most of the kids concentrated in the North.

Education Minister Adamu Adamu announced this in Abuja yesterday during the BESDA technical meeting between the ministry and the 17 focus states.

BESDA is a $611 million World Bank project focused on increasing equitable access for out-of-school children in the 17 states

It targets improvement in literacy while strengthening accountability for results at the basic education level.

The 17 states where the BESDA project is being implemented include 13 in the Northwest and Northeast, as well as Niger, Oyo, Ebonyi and Rivers.

Adamu said the selection of the states was based on the prevalence of out-of-school children in each of the affected states.

He added: “I am aware that since inception, the BESDA Programme has successfully enrolled 924,590 out of the previous figures of 10,193,918 out-of-school children in Nigeria. I can say authoritatively that the figures have dropped significantly to 9,269,328.

“However, while we are making efforts to reduce the numbers, more and more children are joining the queue. There is, therefore, the need to intensify our efforts towards addressing the challenges of the out-of-school children by ensuring that they are in school and learning.

“It is in view of this that we are gathered here today to brainstorm and come up with new strategies that would ensure effective implementation as well as Monitoring and Evaluation of the BESDA programme.”

Also, NSSEC Executive Secretary, Dr. Benjamin Abakpa, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari and Adamu for removing the bottlenecks hindering the takeoff of the commission.