The Ministry of Education says it is working to get Nigeria’s 20 million out-of-school children back to school in the next four years.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, said this on Monday at the 2024 budget defence before the joint committee of the National Assembly on Education in Abuja.
He said that there were millions of out-of-school children in Nigeria, noting that it is a major problem for the country.
“At the tertiary level, we need graduates who have skills and competence to be able to contribute to national development.
“We need graduates who can be employed by willing employers, right now, we have complaints about the quality of the products from our universities and polytechnics.
“Basically the policy trust of the government and this ministry is on these major areas. There are about 20 million out-of-school children or even more in Nigeria.
“We are working on it to ensure that as many as possible of these children, for those of them that can come back to school, are given the opportunity to come back,’’ he said.
Mamman added, “For those who cannot, we want to ensure they are empowered through short-term skills training that will give them the opportunity to connect with society to have a meaningful likelihood.”
The minister said that the ministry had engaged with stakeholders to review Nigeria’s school curriculum to ensure skills acquisition for students.
He encouraged universities to include skills training and entrepreneurship into their curricula to ensure that they produced self-reliant graduates.
Mamman noted that a total of N101.45 billion was allocated for the ministry in 2024, out of which N5.88 billion was for personnel costs, N1.08 billion for overhead costs, and N94.48 billion for capital expenditures.
The Chairman, House Committee on Alternative Education, Rep. Aliyu Mustapha, said that the House was concerned by the rising number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
“I am happy that the minister has highlighted out-of-school children, youth, and adult literacy in the ministry’s programme and vocational training that has taken centre stage.
“In 2024, we have seen that you are still limited by funding, the National Assembly is doing its best to see that those allocations are raised,” he said.