Kano Grapples With Education Crisis: Nearly 1 Million Children Out of School, UNICEF Urges Urgent Action

Aminat Gusanu

 The education landscape in Kano State has taken a grim turn as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) unveils a startling statistic .

According to the UNICEF, almost one million children are currently out of school in the state.

UNICEF’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Christian Munduate, delivered this alarming revelation during a press conference held on Thursday.

Ms. Munduate underscored the urgency of the situation, emphasizing that a staggering 989,234 children are devoid of educational opportunities, a predicament that spans both genders. 

She urged Nigeria to redouble its efforts to combat this critical issue and called for increased investments in the education sector to ensure that every child has access to quality education.

 “There is a fundamental need for every child to have access to education,” she asserted.

In a somewhat contrasting narrative, Ms. Munduate shared a glimmer of hope regarding girls’ education. 

She disclosed that 1.5 million girls have been successfully enrolled in schools under UNICEF’s Girls’ Education Project Phase 3, a program that was implemented between 2012 and 2022. 

This initiative has made substantial progress in bridging the gender gap in education, offering a ray of hope amid the broader challenges.

Shifting her focus to healthcare, Ms. Munduate pointed out that Kano State boasts 484 Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs), with each corresponding to one of the state’s 484 political wards.

 These healthcare centers, aimed at bolstering healthcare accessibility, were part of a project funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office of the United Kingdom and implemented in several Nigerian states, including Kano, Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, and Zamfara.

However, the UNICEF representative also highlighted an urgent need for improvement. She stressed that Kano State should strive to have fully functional PHCs capable of providing a comprehensive range of Tier I Minimum Service Package services round-the-clock. 

Vital to this effort is ensuring that these PHCs are adequately staffed by skilled birth attendants to offer essential antenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care services.

Presently, only 185 of the 484 PHCs meet the criteria for functional healthcare facilities, coming close to the goal of one functional PHC per ward.

 To meet the Sustainable Development Goal target, Ms. Munduate urged the state government to invest in transforming all 484 PHCs into fully functional healthcare centers that meet the Tier I Minimum Service Package requirements by 2026.

In a related development focusing on healthcare access, Ms. Munduate revealed that 1.3 million new births and registrations of children under the age of five have been documented in Kano State since the inception of digital birth registration in 2022. 

This initiative is a significant stride toward ensuring that every child’s identity is recorded, facilitating access to essential healthcare and other services.

The pressing issue of nearly one million out-of-school children in Kano State serves as a stark reminder of the challenges that persist in providing equitable access to education. 

As UNICEF calls for urgent action and investments in education and healthcare, the hope remains that these children can have a brighter future and a path to realizing their full potential.

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