A UK-registered non-profit organisation, Ibironke Adeagbo Foundation (IA-Foundation), has staged a charity walk and education awareness campaign to express its displeasure about the increasing rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
Its Chief Executive Officer and founder, Mrs Ibironke Adeagbo, decried the 20.2 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, describing the situation as embarrassing, grossly unacceptable and a serious economic and security threat to the nation.
According to her, the nation’s insecurity and economic hardship largely result from a lack of proper education.
“When people are not educated, they are more likely to end up in poverty because they may lack the skills, competencies, and certifications to earn them a good job,” she noted. “So, they are economically inactive, and when poverty increases, they resort to crimes and all sort of illegal activities.”
Addressing journalists during the campaign, Adeagbo reiterated the foundation’s commitment to take 1,000 children off the streets and enrol them into topnotch schools across the nation in five years while calling on the government and other NGOs to work collaboratively to drastically reduce the number.
“We currently have over 100 children on our bursary scheme in Lagos, Oyo, Delta, Ogun, Kwara, Abuja and Osun, where we pay for their school fees, buy their textbooks, uniforms and other extra-curricular activities,” added Adeagbo. “Next year, we want to take at least 200 children off the street, and if you know any out-of-school children, let them get in touch with IA-Foundation we are ready to sponsor their education up to the secondary level.”
Adeagbo also charged the next president come 2023 to prioritise education and increase the budgetary allocation with a political will to reduce the numbers.
“Investment in the educational system is the greatest investment any serious government can make. No nation can rise above the quality of its education system,” she stressed. “It is the most powerful tool that we can use to fight corruption, insecurity, and economic challenges.”
The Programmes and Partnerships Manager of IA-Foundation, Mr John Klutse, called on the government to wake up to the challenge and fix the education system.
“It is uncalled for that students have to stay at home for eight months. The amount Nigerians spend on foreign education can make a lot of difference in our economy if such huge funds remain in the Nigerian economy,” Klutse explained. “As a Foundation, we will continue to raise awareness and organise campaigns such as this to sensitize people about the value of education and also encourage well-meaning individuals to support the vision to leave no child behind.”