The Nigerian government has flagged off the 2017/2018 Annual School Census which would address the problem of out-of-school children.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, at the ceremony in Abuja said it would assist in getting accurate number of schools and validate the annual school census collection.
The theme of the 2018 School Census Program is tagged ” Making Every Learner’s Environment Count: A Panacea for the Dearth of Empirical Education Data and as a way of solving the problem of out-of-school Children Syndrome in Nigeria”.
Adamu said that five states had already been mapped and placed on the website for accessibility by all.
“The conduct of the Annual School Census is in line with the provision of Nigeria Education Management Information System Policy of 2007 which provides for the collection of education data beginning from the school.
“Thus, the Education Management Information System processes have since 2009 been decentralised to the states in order to enhance efficiency in the collection, collation, management and dissemination of credible, reliable and timely data in Nigeria.
“Imo, Edo, Ondo, Kogi and Taraba states have keyed into this initiative and we hope all states will key into this exercise and link up so that our data could be validated promptly. ” the Minister added.
School records keeping
He noted that the ministry, through NEMIS would coordinate and monitor process while states would conduct the exercise.
The minister called for cooperation and full participation of the military, para military, private schools, Al majari centres and integrated Quranic schools in the exercise so as to explore the problem of out-of-school children.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Sonny Echono called on the Federal and State ministries of education and other development partners to organise training on school records keeping for head teachers and principals.
He said that successes had been recorded ad the ministry of education and UNICEF had organised trainings on school records keeping in 27 States and FCT.
He said the training would continue until all school heads in the basic and post basic levels were trained and cascaded to other teachers in the system.
He said the geo-positioning of schools had started with the five states adding that other states supported by the World Bank was already preparing to carry out similar geo-positioning and mapping exercise to validate school data for credibility and reliability.
He, therefore, called for more accurate and reliable data during this current census exercise.
He also urged states to take the exercise serious to generate official basic and post basic education data which would make way for every learner’s environment to be accessed, harnessed and accurate.
Also, Mr Adebayo Solomon, Education Specialist and Consultant, World Bank, stressed the need to improve data collection mechanism in the country.
Solomon said that the project of 611 million dollars target was meant to utilise 90 per cent of the money into ensuring that children return to school.
“The project is for 17 states in the north east and north west and each geo-political zones of the country.
“We are working with some of our partners to achieve result. It is not only to collect data but for the data to be published.
“We need to see the value, so part of the efforts is to strengthen the ministry itself to have a robust data base, a robust websites wherein data can be published from the schools to the states and to the federal.
“The challenge has been the fact that there are lots of resource constraints. Some states are not able to do it but through the budget in the federal ministry of education there are resources available for the states to be able to do it.
“The money is available to the extent to which data is collected first of all by the states themselves; they have to spend their money, we now verified through the National Bureau of Statistics and immediately we verified.”Solomon said.
He said the project would last for 5 years while stressing the need for states to be proactive and timely in the collection of data.