No accurate figures on out-of-school children – Minister

By Maryam Garba Hassan

Despite the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) putting the number of Nigeria’s out of school children at 10.5 million, the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike yesterday said there are no accurate figures for the out-of-school children or for Nigeria’s illiteracy figures.

He said   this was   despite a 2012 status report by the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC), revealing that 38 percent of 164,294,516 Nigerians are illiterate, representing 63,213,272 illiterate Nigerians.

Wike, while speaking at a press briefing to mark the 2014 International Literacy Day themed “Literacy for Sustainable Development”, in Abuja, said the absence of accurate data impedes developmental efforts of federal government in the education sector.

He also expressed worry at conflicting data evidence on the issue.

“If you ask the National Planning Commission, the data they will give you may be different from what the Statistics Bureau will have. It is quite worrisome, but a committee has been set up to see that we carry out the actual census, in terms of children who are in schools and those who are not in school,” he said.

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