United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), has said that some obsolete cultural practices and religious misinterpretations has been the reasons for poor access to education and increased poverty in northern Nigeria.
The global body believed that political, traditional and community leaders in the region need to put more effort to change the statistics as regards number of children without education.
Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, few weeks ago, revealed that number of out-of-school children in Nigeria has increased from hitherto 10.5 million to 13.2 million.
He said the rise in the figure could be linked to increased attacks and destruction of educational facilities in communities in some northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
However, UNICEF education specialist, Azuka Menkiti, confirmed to journalists at a two day media dialogue in Kano, that 69 percent of children without access education in Nigeria are found in streets of northern Nigeria, with northeast states leading and northwest states following.
She said: “Few weeks ago, we held a education conference in Kaduna and it had impressed participation of traditional, community and religious leaders.
“Stakeholders that participated in meeting signed a commitment to join forces with government and global partners to pull children out of street and return them to so as to secure a peaceful and productive posterity.
“We don’t insist on formal education. It could be Koranic education. But it will be more profitable if they combined both Koranic and formal education. Records indicated that about 9.5 million school age children in Nigeria are currently enrolled Koranic schools across Nigeria but only 24 percent of them combine both formal and Koranic education.”
Meanwhile, Head of Child Right Information Bureau (CRIB) in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Olumide Osayinpeju, said the essence of the media dialogue was to draw attention to implications of uneducated posterity.
He said: “Evidence exists that increased investment in education and protection of the vulnerable citizens, in this case children, and addressing inequality would ensure sustained growth and stability in Nigeria.
“We heed to integrate children, especially those in difficult terrain and other excluded children and ensure equitable distribution of education resources.”