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Only 36% of Nigerian children can afford basic education – UNICEF

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ONLY 36 per cent of Nigerian children participate in Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs.

  A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) education specialist, Yetunde Oluwatosin, gave the figure in Sokoto during a two-day media dialogue on Early Child Education (ECE) in Nigeria, yesterday.

  Describing the percentage as equivalent of one in every three children, Oluwatosin berated it as a far cry given requisite attention to child development required from countries.

  “In Nigeria, only one in three children (36 per cent) attends, but at least 10 million children are not enrolled. It has been observed that large inequalities persist between the poorest children and the richest children’s ECE attendance rate translating to 8 per cent and 87 per cent, respectively. Globally, fewer than one in three children ages three to four attend ECE. In West and Central Africa, only one in four (24 per cent) attend ECE,” she said.

  Enumerating lack of trained teachers, distance to school and inappropriate curriculum, among others, as barriers limiting ECE in Nigeria, Oluwatosin explained that these challenges are systemic.

  “If you look at it, from the 2018 National Personnel Audit (NPA) of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), we have over seven million learners but 154,000 teachers. This pupils/teachers ratio is low, and we must do something to improve this. This disparity is there, and we are still far behind in achieving the SDG goals,” she continued.

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