Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed worry over the high number of out-of-school children in the country.
Mr Obasanjo who spoke at the National Summit on Tertiary Education Reform organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday said the government should act fast in reducing menace.
“We missed the road when the whole world was talking of education for all and we did not follow that. It was a bad miss.
“Education for all! We even had a target date globally. Today, out of the 244 million children out of school, we have 20 million – almost 10 per cent. We continue to miss and we are missing. That is a very bad one,” the ex-president said.
“They cannot be part of nation building because they have not had the opportunity to develop their innate capacity to the extent that they can be useful to themselves, to their family and to their community, let alone the nation,” he stated.
In his remark, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, raised concern that the issues that led to the eight-month strike by ASUU are yet to be resolved.
“The end of the strike did not mean all the issues of funding, education standard, and student and staff welfare had been resolved. At the time, I called for the government, universities, unions, and citizens to see the moment as an opportunity to begin the critical conversation about the future of public tertiary education in the country,” he said.
“In 2019, I sponsored, and the House of Representatives passed the Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill to provide access to education financing for students who qualify. That bill is in the Senate, awaiting concurrence. We hope it will get to the president before the expiration of this administration,” the speaker said.