As part of efforts to tackle the menace of Out Of School Children (OOSC) in Nigeria, the federal government has introduced buffers such as feeding of pupils and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) to parents of children under the Alternate School Programme (ASP).
Speaking Monday in Abuja during the 5th meeting of the ASP National Steering Committee, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said that the commitment of the members of the committee will go a long way in achieving the objectives of helping the vulnerable OOSC population in Nigeria.
She said: “As we are aware, developmental issues and challenges are interrelated; one example being the inability of OOSC to access education in part due to their socio-economic obstacles.
“As such, we have aimed to tackle this problem in a multi-pronged fashion by not only providing educational opportunities to the OOSC but simultaneously providing them buffers against challenges that impede their ability to access education; for example, daily feeding for them when they are being educated by us and Conditional Cash Transfers for their parents to enable their active participation.
“This will be done through the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs) under my Ministry and is a much-needed intervention for this vulnerable section of the population.
“This meeting in particular gives us the chance to hear from the Technical Working Group of the Alternate School Programme on their field expeditions to OOSC cluster sites. These missions were undertaken to each of the six (6) geo-political zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. We will hear much needed feedback on the beneficiaries, the environments and how the ASP can effectively be situated in these places.
“It is hoped that these visits have given the Technical Working Group much needed insight into how this programme can be scaled up on a national level in line with the wishes of Mr. President; and how they can improve their designs on implementation for the imminent rollout of this programme.”
She added: “I thank the National Steering Committee (NSC) and the Technical Working Group (TWG) for their contributions towards making this ambitious programme work. The issue of Out of School Children (OOSC) affects us all as Nigerians and crafting a solution is an investment into all of our futures. Being of a complex nature, OOSC populations are found across all tribes, in all locations and with varying priorities. With a problem that is cross-cutting, the solution requires help from stakeholders at all levels.
“Our National Steering Committee and the Technical Working Group members we assigned are from the areas of Government, Civil Society and International Development Partners. Each has been selected in the expectation of their unique value-add and commitment to working together in partnership. I thank all members for their commitment thus far to this programme and it is my expectation and belief that this spirit of cooperation and engagement of diverse stakeholders in all areas will be carried over to the wider implementation of the ASP.
“As we listen to the TWG on their experiences at the OOSC cluster sites and consider the next phases of this programme’s implementation; I urge the NSC to provide feedback with a view to harnessing the momentum of a new year and considering the urgency of the OOSC situation. With that being said, I wish us all a successful deliberation.”