PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has blamed Nigeria’s 19 northern state governments for the preponderance of the Almajiri education system that has paralysed schooling and led to 13m out-of-school-pupils roaming the streets.
Of late, absenteeism has become rampant across northern Nigeria, making the nation country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Following the collapse of the traditional Almajiri school system in the post-colonial era, many parents do not send their children to school and instead allow them to roam the streets as beggars.
This, however, has led to numerous social problems as these kids without any education end up becoming armed robbers, kidnappers and terrorists. Numerous international bodies like Unesco and Unicef have called on Nigerian states to dramatically increase the amount they spend on education in a bid to reverse the trend.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he received members of the Progressives in Academics at the State House, President Buhari said , it was wrong to blame the federal government for the way and manner the system is currently being managed. He added that education remains a top priority for his administration.
President Buhari said: “People are deliberately criticising the federal government for the Almajiris but that is the responsibility of the state governments, as they are not doing their jobs. Reflect on the basis for revenue allocations from the centre which is being published by the Nigerian press every quarter, the amount of money earned and how it is divided by the three tiers of government.”
He disclosed that his administration had injected over N1tn into the education sector over the last four years, through the Universal Basic Education Commission, Tertiary Education Trust Fund and Needs Assessment interventions. According to the president, the federal government is releasing money to states and it is the responsibility of governors to ensure that they spend their education budgets judiciously.
“We also released N25bn to public universities to pay earned academic allowances to lecturers and of course, you are all aware of the rot we uncovered at Joint Admission and Matriculation Board and many other institutions. Our home grown school feeding programme covering more than 10m children, coupled with our social investment initiative has encouraged many parents to send their children to school and also pay for more teachers in classrooms.
“In the next four years we shall continue with the work to transform the sector bearing in mind our high population growth rate, financial challenges and security issues, especially those grossly affected areas,” President Buhari said.