Following an increase in the number of out-of-school children in the South East of the country as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has kicked off “back to School” campaigns.
They also embarked on an enrollment drive of the out-of-school children in the area.
The Chairman of Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) in Ebonyi State, Chief Hycent Ikpor disclosed this during a town hall meeting with Head Teachers, PTA executives, parents and other stakeholders at Afikpo South local government area of the state.
Chief Ikpo raised alarm over the number of out-of-school children in Ebonyi Ebonyi state said, that all hands must be on deck to bring the children back to school because they are the future leaders of this Country.
The UBEB Chairman who was represented by the Director of Social Mobilization, Mrs Maria Oselebe stated that Covid-19 contributed to the increase in the number of out-of-school children in South East which made UNICEF initiate this “Back to School Campaign” programme in order to return the children back to school for academic activities explaining that Ebonyi and Enugu state were selected to represent South East.
“Our children are very important to us because they are our future leaders. We are here for a programme called “Back to School Campaign”.This back to school Programme was introduced by UNICEF and in the whole South-East, we have only two states that are involved; Ebonyi and Enugu state representing the whole South East. The programme concerns our children and ourselves.
“This is to ensure that all school children that are of age must be in school and this time around, the added a clause and that is Covid-19 protocols.
“They discovered that after the long period of Covid-19 in 2020 all over the world, many children were no longer interested in going to school. Some of them started trading, farming, fishing, and only a few of them are in school today.
“The number of children enrolled in schools today is going down and UNICEF said no, that it can’t continue and that is why we are here.”
Mrs Oselebe urged parents and guidance to ensure that their children are in school assuring that UNICEF is going to provide covid-19 protocols that will guide the children in order not to be victims of covid-19.
On his part, the Director of School Services in UBEB, Mr Dominic Nwafor noted that the number of out-of-school children calls for concern by stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to drive our children back to school.
He noted that in Ebonyi state, only Afikpo South, Ikwo and Izzi local government areas are selected for the programme.
He further encouraged parents to live up to expectations by bringing their children to school, “We came because we want our children to be useful. There is a big difference between an educated and uneducated person. Education reflects in our character, business and every other venture in life.