Ministry and research agency disagree on 12.3 million out-of-school children

An analytical statistics organization, SBMorgan Intelligence, estimated the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria at 12,320,529.

However, the Federal Ministry of Education disputed this figure, saying Nigeria did not reach the figure.

SBMorgan Intelligence, which cited its source as the Federal Ministry of Education and the Council for Universal Basic Education, said 12,320,529 children were out of school, adding that Bauchi state had the highest number of 1,239,759 out-of-school children, followed by Kastina with 873,633 and Kano with 837,479.

He further said that Edo State had the lowest number with 79,446.

In the southwest, the report says Oyo State has the highest with 463,280, Osun State 260,222 and Lagos State 229,264.

In the south-south, Rivers State has the highest number at 196,581 and in the south-east, Ebonyi State has the highest number with 151,000.

Senior SBM Intelligence analyst Joachim MacEbong said: “The numbers come from the Federal Ministry of Education, not SBM, we just put them in a graph.

He advised that “there should be an increase in the number and quality of teachers, improve the safety of schools, especially in the North, they should ensure that these teachers are properly supported by governments” .

However, Education Ministry spokesperson Ben Goong told our correspondent on the phone that Nigeria did not live up to the SBM figure.

He said, “The people who deploy these numbers don’t have the mechanism. If there is a federal government chart, it should come from us and we did not quote any numbers.

“Nigeria does not have as many out-of-school children. They keep citing figures from 10 years ago; things have changed, and that’s very irritating to me. At the Ministry of Education’s 2020 annual ministerial press conference, held in January 2021, the minister said we have 6.9 million children out of school. But we have the BESDA educational services which is an institutional arrangement with UBEC and it has the responsibility to bring our children to school, to provide infrastructure, and they do that effectively in all of our schools.

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