“13.2 million Nigerian children now out of school, highest in the world,” UNICEF says

At 13.2 million, Nigeria now has the highest number of out of school children on the planet.

Women wait with their children under a shed for food rations at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria June 6, 2017.

Nigeria now has the highest number of out of school children in the world.

In a story published by the Voice Of America, the UN agency says its latest survey “indicates that the population of out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world”.

UNICEF states that most of the affected children are in the northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, “where have disrupted academic activities”.

Boko Haram has been waging a war against the Nigerian state since 2009. The terrorist sect has displaced millions and killed more than 50,000 people in Nigeria since the insurgency commenced.

The economy is adversely affected

Education psychologist Mayowa Adegbile told VOA that increasing numbers of out of school children in Nigeria adversely affects the nation’s economy.

"Sixty percent of that population are girls only, and you know when you bring it back home, every girl becomes a mother or a woman who would in turn take care of other children. And for a woman who goes to school, it has a ripple effect, an economical ripple effect.

"When she goes to school, she has education, she gets a job, even if she doesn't have a job... even if it's just basic secondary school education, she can communicate basic English and Mathematics,” Adegbile said.

Apart from the Boko Haram insurgency, UNICEF also found that some cultural beliefs and practices also play significant role in keeping children of school age in Nigeria out of the classrooms.

“Nigeria's budgetary spending on education is not enough to quell the widening gap - only seven percent of Nigeria's $24 billion 2018 budget is earmarked for education.

“And so far, there appear to be no new policies to boost education spending”, VOA writes.

The Muhammadu Buhari presidency often claims that the Boko Haram sect is on the verge of annihilation or defeat, but terrorist attacks and abduction of school kids in the restive northeast are still commonplace.

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