Sir: Due to the alarming security situation in the country, the percentage of children of primary school age not having any form of education across the regions merits a discourse. According to the Multiple Instructor Survey Cluster (MISC) 2021 report, the percentage of the six respective geopolitical zones in the country stands as follows: North Central – 21.0%; North East – 49.5%; North West – 40.2%; South East – 9.1%; South South – 4.6%; and South West – 6.2%. Taking it down to the state, Imo State has 0.6% to beat the record of out-of-school children of primary school age in 2021 nationwide while Bauchi recorded 60.8% as highest.
Practically, this is the face of the future of the country vis-à-vis security, industrialisation, economic growth including the Gross Domestic Products (GDP). The figures unfalteringly explain the rationale of the United Nations’ focus by aggressive interventions in the northern region through United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with support from concerned funding partners around the world. Incontrovertibly, their big hearts have been changing the narratives, touching lives. With sustained support, without a doubt, the target will be met.
Interestingly, the percentage of out-of-school children of primary school age in Imo State according to the MICS 2021 report is reassuring. Possibly, the laudable social responsibility by Rochas Okorocha through education empowerment schemes for the helpless citizens counting over 18 years contributed to the record. Rochas Foundation, from records, has sponsored over 25,000 children and produced over 6000 graduates in various fields of discipline nationwide. The public spirit is a step in the right direction.
Ideally, the affluent can characteristically adopt one or two indigent children in a neighbourhood or from the orphanages, not necessarily physical adoption but by upkeep, including on education. In Niger State, the Emir of Agaie, Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu, is a good example in the fight against underage girls’ marriage and in promoting girls’ education in his space and little capacity. Until the population of indigent children is significantly reduced by including them into plans as a social responsibility, a thriving society will remain abstract.
An African-American Muslim minister and leader in the civil rights movement and supporter of Black Nationalism, Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Suffice to say that wherever adequate attention is not paid to education particularly from the early stage, the society is sitting on a powder keg; a volatile state. Today is the future of the yesteryears when the leadership class failed to give a priority to education.
Carl Umegboro, a public affairs analyst and social advocate, writes through email@example.com