10.5 million out of school children, low reading culture in Nigeria worry FG, says Minister


There are more than 10.5 million children that are out of school in Nigeria, even as the nation has been identified with a low reading culture.
Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Gozie Anwukah expressed the worry today, Wednesday, 12/7/2017 at the opening ceremony of the 19th quarterly meeting of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) management with the executive chairmen of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) holding in Asaba, Delta state capital.
Prof. Anwukah who called attention to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is addressing the issue of out-of- school children that is estimated at 10.5 million, he said that to curb the syndrome, the Federal government is synergizing with the state governments.
“Already, the World Bank has offered a $500million loan which focuses on boosting girl-child and boy-child education in the country. Many other programmes have also been introduced to increase enrolment through the provision of various facilities and incentives in public schools,” the Minister of state said.
Pointing out that the theme of the meeting: ‘Text books policy: An effective tool for enhancing delivery of qualitative Basic education in Nigeria,’ was coming at the right time now, Prof. Anwukah said this was because the Buhari administration is worried about the poor reading culture in the country.
“A recent survey on hours of reading per week per person by the World culture Score Index shows that India has a score of 10.45 hours per week followed by Thailand, 09.18 hours; China, 08.00 hours; Philippines, 07.36 hours; and Egypt, 07.30 hours. Unfortunately, Nigeria is not among the top 30 countries in the world with good reading habits,” Anwukah said.
The explained that this position is not a surprise because of the fact that reading culture in the country is low due to lack of plans to consolidate the new skills of reading and numeracy acquired by the child as well as developing such skills to a point where learners can read on their own for pleasure or profit.
Meanwhile, Delta state received a pat on the back when the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi commended the state for always serving as a trail blazer in the field of education in Nigeria. “We all fondly remember the towering education attainments of the old Bendel State, and with the creation of Delta state, the education sector and especially Basic education had continued to strive and excel.
“Governor Okowa promptly accessed Delta state’s 2013-2014 UBEC matching grant which had hitherto remained unaccessed since 2012. And he has continued to pay his counterpart funding for subsequent years,” Dr. Bobboyi said.
Earlier, the Delta state UBEC Chairman, Hon. Sunny Ogwu who welcomed the participants to Delta State, the home of peace and tradition and the Big Heart of the nation. The Governor was represented at the event by the Commissioner for Basic and secondary education, Barrister Chiedu Ebie.

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