Incessant bandit attacks and COVID-19 pandemic have heightened the rising population of out-of-school children in Katsina State, director of social mobilisation of Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Abdul Malik Bello, has said.
At a meeting with the media, preparatory to the flag-off of “Back-to-School and Behavioural Change Campaign”, Bello said Kankara and Kafur local governments councils were the hardest hit out of the 34 local government areas in the state.
The campaign is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and sponsored by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Bello said in 2018, the state had a population of about 1,137,000 out-of-school children, but 360,000 returned to their schools due to the unrelenting efforts of the state government through UBEB and UNICEF.
He said the board, in collaboration with UNICEF and other development partners, was targeting the return of additional 200,000 out-of-school children, including the Al-Majirai, to school this year through the Back to School and Behavioural Change Campaign.
“In 2018, Katsina had 1,137,000 out-of-school children and from that time, the board and state government joined hands with UNICEF, where we were able to bring back 360,000 children to school.
“Based on Annual School Census report, we now have over 775,000 out-of-school children. This prompted us to embark on another massive back to school campaign across the state.
“We are targeting to bring back 200,000 out-of-school children, including the Al-Majirai to school this year through the Back to School and Behavioural Change Campaign”, he said.
Also, the UNICEF focal person, Ministry of Education, Binta Abdulmumin said the organisation was embarking on the back-to-school campaign in Kankara and Kafur because they are the local government areas with the highest number of out-of-school children in the state.