By Abubakar Salihu
The federal government has commenced plans to educate over ten million out-of-school children in different parts of the country; under the Alternate School Programme (ASP).
Speaking Tuesday in Abuja, during the steering committee meeting for the Alternate School Programme (ASP).
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the meeting is in line with the directive by Mr Muhammadu that all Nigerians of school age must acquire basic education.
She said: “We are working to actually identify these children we are going to engage in the schools under the Alternate School Programme. According to NBS, we have over 10 million out of school children in the country. This committee is setting out the platform to collate this data from NBS and other sources to see how we can kick-start this programme.
“I wish to thank the distinguished members of the Alternate School Programme National Steering Committee, for again, convening for this very essential second meeting. Following the success of the inauguration by Mr. President and the subsequent inaugural meeting, it is apt to say that work has commenced towards actualising this all-important programme.
“In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, we have spent the last few weeks in engagement with various stakeholders, in a bid to refine and strengthen the ASP Concept towards successful implementation of this programme; for it is upon this foundation that we can begin to erect necessary building blocks. I am pleased with the outcome of these engagements and I hope that the National Steering Committee is able to quickly adopt and ratify the Concept Note to enable us forge ahead as swiftly as possible.
“Let us all remain mindful that the Alternate School Programme possesses the potential for every child to gain access to quality education, irrespective of social, cultural or economic standing, as well as provide a means of improving household incomes for their respective families, through the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes, as delivered through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. It also seeks to equip children with the requisite skills and wherewithal to engage with and contribute meaningfully to the Nigerian economy.
“However, we must all keep in mind that leadership and strategic direction remain critical to ensuring that this laudable concept can be brought to fruition. Thus, the significance of each of the members of the National Steering Committee in providing the necessary leadership for the success of the programme cannot be overemphasised. And, as charged by Mr. President, the success of the Alternate School Programme will rely largely on inter-ministerial collaboration and effective stakeholder engagement.
“With this reminder of all that is at stake, I urge us all to remain committed to this cause and continue to work together to ensure that the Alternate School Programme is, but most importantly, the beneficiaries are able to enjoy very successful outcomes.”
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that the ministers will work together to actualise the ASP, as directed by President Buhari.
“The past couple of weeks have been spent in bringing in the concept note and sharpening it as directed by Mr President. The work has been concluded and all the participating agencies are all poised with presentation. We will proceed along those lines to make sure everything works in tandem,” he said.