‘It’s political’: Education ministry official tackles Kano on ‘reduced’ out-of-school children figures

Adamu Adamu, Nigeria's Minister of Education

A senior official at Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education has faulted recent claims by the Kano State government that the number of out-of-school children in the state had reduced to 410, 873.

The official, in an interview with EduCeleb.com on Monday, alleged that the announcement was merely political considering the numerously existing challenges with the education sector in the state.

This newspaper had earlier quoted a state government spokesperson, Abba Anwar who last Friday revealed that the government’s sub-committee found that school enrolment had increased tremendously in the state since 2015.

Mr Anwar had attributed the reduction in the number of out-of-school children to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s free education policy among other interventions.

This development is coming around a time the Federal Ministry of Education made public some of its statistics on education across Nigeria.

EduCeleb.com recalls that the ministry in 2019 ranked Kano as home to the highest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria at 989, 234 children. That is near 10 percent of the national sum.

This leaves a wide gap of not less than 578,361 children between the federal and the state government data on a similar subject over almost around the same period.

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‘It is political’

Faulting the assertion by the Kano State government, the Federal Ministry of Education official who pleaded anonymity alleged that the Kano State was merely making a political statement.

“That discrepancy is too wide to be accurate. Sometimes, they come up with political statements to showcase that they are working.”

The official who is in the know about the compilation of the federal data on the subject emphasised that its content was too authoritative enough for another data to contradict it within the short time.

“This data set you see is an authority. It went through a lot of analysis and involved several experts while using scientific approaches.”

“Did they call out all the children that are not in school to count them one by one?”

“(In Kano State), there are a lot of children they cannot account for if at all they attempted to count them one by one at.”

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation defines out-of-school children as those within the primary school age who are not enrolled in any school.

Usually, such children are between age 6 and 11.

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EduCeleb.com gathered that the figure is arrived at by deducting the number of children within the age range enrolled in schools from the population of children within the same age range.

Education Minister, Adamu Adamu had revealed last December that the federal government relied on a collaboration between the ministry, the National Population Commission and some technical partners in compiling the data.

He said so during the unveiling of the data compendium otherwise known as the National Personnel Audit.

The senior ministry official who challenged the Kano government’s data wondered what parameters the Ganduje led administration adopted in coming to the divergent data.

He said a survey would not have done justice to provide near accurate figures as that would only give estimates.

While adding that Kano had witnessed migration from its neighbouring states due to insurgency and other forms insecurity aside its large economic capacity, he challenged the Kano State government to justify the validity of its data.

Kano keeps mum

The Spokesperson of the Kano State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology promised to get back to this reporter when contacted for comments on the figure discrepancies.

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Mr Aliyu Yusuf, in a phone interview with EduCeleb.com said he was aware of the data but had not gone through it yet.

He promised to communicate with us after establishing more facts later.

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