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The federal government says it has committed N220 billion to tackle the out-of-school children menace ravaging the country, an official has said.

Nigeria has about 10.5 million out of school children according to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Saturday afternoon, the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Gooong, said the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said this in Yola, at the launch of the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) program in the state.

According to the statement, the minister said the fund is a credit facility from the World Bank to Nigeria.

The fund has been given to states on an interest-free basis to enable them fight the scourge.

”The cardinal objective of the BESDA program is to increase equitable access for out-of-school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability at the basic education level,” Mr Nwajiuba said.

He said the program will focus on 17states in the country, which includes the 13 states of the North-west and North-east geo-political zones. He also said Oyo, Ebonyi and Rivers states will be captured in the programme.

Selection modality

The minister said the selection of the states is based on the prevalence of the scourge.

He said BESDA became effective in 2018 with the commencement of implementation processes at the Federal level. “All key activities at the federal level to kick start implementation of the program by the focus states have been completed.”

He said each beneficiary state is expected to commence implementation in line with specific steps and guidelines provided under the program.

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The statement did not explain the specific steps and guidelines.

”Adamawa state has successfully commenced the implementation process ensuring that out of school children are in school is not only a moral and legal obligation but also a productive investment that will guarantee the future of our children as enshrined in the child rights Act of 2003,” he added.

Meanwhile, the sthe governor of Adamawa state, Ahmadu Fintiri, also quoted in the statement, said he had directed the implementation of the BESDA program “two months after assumption of office to show the enthusiasm of the state towards the program”.

”So far, over 50,000 children have already been taken off the streets in Adamawa. In order to ensure the success of the program,” he said.

The governor said “a strong implementation team” was established which includes traditional and religious leaders in all the local government and districts of the state.

”The training of teachers otherwise known as facilitators for the program has already been completed. Efforts are on to integrate the Almajiri and Tsangaya systems into the BESDA program. Special consideration and arrangements will be made in the program for the girl child,” he said.

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