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13.2m out-of-school kids a national calamity, says Gbajabiamila

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House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said having about 13.2 million out-of-school children is a national calamity and time bomb waiting to explode.

He urged fellow lawmakers and all those handling the nation’s Education sector to address the situation with a sense of urgency.

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Gbajabiamila stated this yesterday when he addressed his colleagues during a special plenary to discuss the growing number of out-of-school children across the country.

“We are here to consider the failures of policy development and implementation, the vagaries of culture and religion that have contributed to the plight of these young people. We are here to advance solutions to this problem.

“We are here to act in the best interests of our people by ensuring that the solutions presented here today are formulated into actionable policy plans to be implemented diligently, with haste.

“This is a commitment that we made in our Legislative Agenda, and we will live up to this and all other commitments which we have freely made before God and the Nigerian people who have chosen us to represent them here in this hallowed chamber,” he said.

The Speaker recalled that in the last 20 years, the Federal Government had shown commitment to a programme of educational reform that had resulted in the allocation of significant funds to basic education.

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The reforms, he said, were mostly intended to fill the gap by building new schools and providing teachers in previously underserved areas.

Gbajabiamila stressed that “these investments have not yielded the desired outcomes”.

He added: “In too many parts of the country, the school attendance rates have not improved, and the quality of education being received by those who enrol and attend still falls far short of our most fundamental expectations. We must consider that perhaps the time for a massive course correction has come.”

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