Abuja – THE Federal Government has said it will take a multi-pronged approach to tackle the socio-economic barriers of out-of-school children in the country.
To this end, the government has said that it will not only provide educational opportunities to out-of-school children, but will also simultaneously provide them with buffers against challenges that hinder their ability to access education.
Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, speaking at the 5th Meeting of the National Steering Committee of the Alternative Schools Scheme, in Abuja on Monday, explained that the government would provide daily food for those not attending school. children as they go to school and conditional cash transfers for their parents to enable their active participation.
She said she was very encouraged by the continued commitment to the program by its members and their “aims to help the vulnerable population of out-of-school children (OOSC)”.
“As we know, development issues and challenges are interrelated; an example being the inability of CSOs to access education partly due to their socio-economic barriers.
“As such, we have sought to address this issue on multiple fronts by not only providing educational opportunities to the OOSC, but simultaneously providing them with buffers against the challenges that impede their ability to access education; for example, feeding them daily when they are educated by us and conditional cash transfers for their parents to enable their active participation,” she said.
According to the minister, “This will be done through the National Social Investment Programs (NSIPs) under my ministry and this is a much needed intervention for this vulnerable part of the population.”
“This meeting in particular gives us the opportunity to hear from the Alternative Schools Program Technical Working Group on their field expeditions to OOSC cluster sites,” she said.
Farouq explained that “these missions were undertaken in each of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory,” adding, “We will hear much-needed feedback on beneficiaries, environments and how ASP can be efficiently located. in these places.”
“We hope that these visits have given the Technical Working Group much-needed insight into how this program can be scaled up nationally in line with Mr. President’s wishes; and how they can improve their designs on implementation to the imminent rollout of this program,” she added.
She thanked the National Steering Committee (NSC) and the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the program for their contributions to the realization of “this ambitious program”.
“The Out of School Children (OOSC) problem affects us all as Nigerians and developing a solution is an investment in the future of all of us.
“Complex in nature, OOSC populations are found in all tribes, in all locations and with varying priorities. With a problem that is cross-cutting, the solution requires the help of stakeholders at all levels. Our Steering Committee and the Technical Working Group The group members we assigned come from the fields of government, civil society and international development partners.
“Each has been selected with the expectation of their unique added value and commitment to working together in partnership. I thank all members for their commitment to this program thus far and I expect and believe that this spirit of cooperation and engagement of diverse stakeholders in all areas will transfer to the wider implementation of the ASP,” she said.