LAGOS/Nigeria: An NGO, Human Development Initiative (HDI), on Thursday in Lagos urged stakeholders in the education sector to find lasting solution to the menace of out-of-school children.
Mrs Olufunso Owasanye, Executive Director, HDI, gave the advice at a sensitisation programme organised by the initiative with stakeholders in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The programme was based on the Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 and the role of stakeholders.
Owasanye said Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world and it was the responsibility of everybody to ensure that children go to school.
“Out-of-school children are more prone to anti-social influence, whereas in school, children are better protected.
“Many children drop out of school due to economic hardship, early marriage for girls and child labour among others.
“We are here to sensitise community leaders, religious organisations and parents about their roles and relationship with head teachers in terms of school development and improving the standard of schools,’’ She said.
Owasanye said it was the responsibility of everyone to ensure their children went to school.
“We should have passion to ask a child that roams about during school hours why he is not in class; there are telephone lines that one can call to report such occurrence,’’ she said.
The executive director urged parents to always motivate their children to go to school.
“Most times, parents neglect the education of their wards; if a child is not in right emotional mind, the parents can motivate and encourage him or her to go to school.
“Parents should also interrogate children to find out what challenges they are facing in school that can have negative effects on their education,’’ she said.
She urged stakeholders to join hands in promoting Universal Basic Education for a better society.
Alhaji Abdulahi Mustapha, the Chief Imam of Surulere, urged the NGO to extend the programme to schools and rural communities to establish the value and importance of education.
Mustapha noted that there were teachers who did not appreciate the value of education going by the way they presented themselves to pupils.
Another stakeholder, Mr Adeleye Abolade, Chairman, Parents Forum of Adegoke Nursery and Primary School, Surulere, commended the initiative for its efforts at reducing the number of out-of-school children.
According to him, the initiative is doing a lot in sensitising people on the need to reduce the number of out-of-school children.
The 2004 Universal Basic Education Act provides for free and compulsory for pupils from primary school to junior secondary school.