From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
MINISTER of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, has lamented the alarming rate of out of school children in the country, even as he expressed worries over low reading culture among Nigerians.
Speaking yesterday in Asaba at the opening of the 19th quarterly meeting of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) management and chairmen of State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), Anwukah said over 10.5 million are out of school.
He said the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is collaborating with states to address the alarming trend.
“Already, the World Bank has offered a $500 million loan which focuses on boosting girl-child and boy-child education in the country. Many other programmes have also been introduced to increase enrolment through the provision of various facilities and incentives in public schools,” he said.
Describing the theme of the meeting: “Text Books Policy: An Effective Tool for Enhancing Delivery of Qualitative Basic Education in Nigeria,” as apt, Prof. Anwukah said the current administration is worried about the poor reading culture in the country.
“A recent survey on hours of reading per week per person by the World Culture Score Index shows that India has a score of 10.45 hours per week followed by Thailand, 09.18 hours; China, 08.00 hours; Philippines, 07.36 hours; and Egypt, 07.30 hours. Unfortunately, Nigeria is not among the top 30 countries in the world with good reading habits,” Anwukah lamented.
He explained that “this position is not a surprise because of the fact that reading culture in the country is low due to lack of plans to consolidate the new skills of reading and numeracy acquired by the child as well as developing such skills to a point where learners can read on their own for pleasure or profit.”
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi commended Delta State for always serving as a trail blazer in the field of education in Nigeria.
“We all fondly remember the towering education attainments of the old Bendel State, and with the creation of Delta State, the education sector and especially basic education had continued to strive and excel.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa promptly accessed Delta State’s 2013-2014 UBEC matching grant which had not been accessed since 2012. And he has continued to pay his counterpart funding for subsequent years,” Bobboyi said.