Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said Nigeria tops the list of out-of-school children in the world.
She said the alarming figure informed the decision of the Federal Government to set up a committee that would develop plans to address the challenges.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee on Alternate School Programme (ASP) on Monday in Abuja, the minister, who is the co-chairperson of the committee, explained that the committee would come up with plans to reduce the number of children who are currently out of school.
She said the children would be provided with quality basic education and skills in special settings that are not addressed in a conventional school system.
In a statement by her Special Adviser on Media, Nneka Anibeze, Farouq said: “You are all aware that Nigeria is the leading nation in the world with the most out-of-school children.
“Consequently, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Alternate School Programme (ASP) to ensure that every out-of-school child in Nigeria gains access to quality basic education, irrespective of social, cultural or economic circumstance.
“The ASP is expected to help provide opportunities for out-of-school children to develop life supporting skills from vocational and entrepreneurship training for effective functioning in society.
“Each member of this National Steering Committee has been carefully chosen in expectation of the immense value you will bring in charting the strategic direction of this programme.”
The ASP is aimed at eliminating or substantially reducing illiteracy, child begging and foster tolerance, unity and integration of all children with diverse backgrounds.
The committee comprises 17 members and it is co-chaired by Education Minister Adamu Adamu.