Nigeria Has 950,000 Teachers, 20,000 Classroom Deficits – FG

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Minister of education, Tahir Maman, has said Nigeria currently has a deficit of 950,000 teachers and 20,000 classrooms, a situation that further compounds the many challenges facing the nation’s education.
Professor Maman also said the federal government has gotten a $700 million World Bank support fund for adolescent girls earmarked for learning and empowerment scheme, adding that the government would build 500 classrooms of various capacities in schools across the country from the funds. “Under the scheme, we are going to have 500 classrooms of various capacities in various schools,” he said. He said the minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Wale Edun, confirmed the receipt of the funds.
He made the disclosure yesterday at the just concluded 29th Nigerian Economic Summit during a ministerial roundtable on National Child Well-being in Abuja.
Nigeria’s country representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ms Christian Munduate challenged the authorities to start building quality health and education for Nigerian children with more budget allocation to health. She said the government’s current budget for health is not enough.
“Set priorities and put them where they should be with very good accountability,” she said, pointing to the fact that some basic things need to be established as priorities to move ahead. “The quality and access to education is urgent.”
Maman said the government is working very hard through interagency outfits, including the security agencies to ensure that children feel comfortable to go to school and learn, adding that these are some of the measures they are taking.
“The future is now. Because if you don’t get it right now, then, the future is very bleak,” he said, adding that those who are not educated may end up becoming criminals or indulging in unproductive activities in future. “Our attention has shifted to that level because of our mandate even though basic education is supposed to be under the state governments.”
The education minister said the federal government is formulating a policy framework to engage the states for massive intervention. He acknowledged that a lot of Nigerian children need skills. “We are on a crusade on this matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Betta Edu has said 21 million children in Nigeria are not registered at birth. Apart from that, she said 2.5 million children are unvaccinated from preventable diseases, creating fear about the health safety of many children in the country. She did not give details on the region or states with the highest figure of unvaccinated children.
Represented by the national programme manager for At-risk Children Programme, Hajiya Zaziha Sanusi Yusuf at the ministerial roundtable, Edu also said her ministry does not have complete data to effectively carry out the government’s social investment programmes. “We need to have data, we need to have a strategic plan… to be able to carry out our social investment programmes,” Yusuf stated.
Earlier, the CEO-designate, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Tayo Aduloju said there is an urgent need to tackle the many challenges, including illiteracy and malnutrition facing the average Nigerian child. “It is the urgency of now to reduce child poverty in Nigeria.” She said it was crucial to have set priorities and targets for solving the problem of child poverty. “We need a campaign for human capital development. One measure that works for all can’t work across Nigeria.”
She said the government should start with more budget allocation to health, adding that what the government currently budgets for health are not enough for what is required for child health and nutrition.
“If we are not addressing those two million children’s health problems with a vaccine, we cannot say we are helping the children,” she said.


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