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Oyo Ranks Highest In Southwest’s States For Out-Of-School Children

Enoch Oyedibu 

Oyo State has emerged as the state with the highest number of out-of-school children in the Southwest region of Nigeria, PLATFORM TIMES can report.

Comparatively, other Southwest states fair better. Ogun State ranks second with 20.5% of children out of school, Ondo State comes third with 13.8%, Osun State fourth with 12.8%, Lagos State at 6.4%, and Ekiti State has the lowest rate at 5.1%.

However, the Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index (NMPI) for 2022 paints a different picture. 

According to data from the NMPI, gathered in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF, Oyo State ranks the highest in the Southwest for the percentage of out-of-school children aged 6 to 15. 

The state has a staggering 20.9% of its children out of school, significantly higher than the national average of 10.05% of the country’s 200 million population.

Historical data from the Oyo State Bureau of Statistics (SBS) also undermines the commissioner’s claims. 

In 2018, SBS reported alarming dropout rates among various age groups. 

The senior secondary school age group (15-18 years) had the highest dropout rate, with 88,645 boys and 94,285 girls leaving school.

 For younger age groups, the dropout rates were also significant: 4.0% for ages 3-5, 10.5% for ages 6-11, 15.5% for ages 12-14, and 23.7% for ages 15-18.

Local government areas within Oyo State show stark differences in dropout rates. Irepo Local Government recorded the highest percentage of dropped-out children (34.2%) among primary school-age children (6-11 years), followed by Iseyin Local Government at 26.8%. 

In contrast, Iwajowa Local Government had the lowest percentage (0.7%) in this age group.

 For junior secondary school-age children (12-14 years), Oyo East Local Government had the highest dropout rate at 47.7%, with Afijio Local Government following at 43.1%. Ibarapa East Local Government recorded the lowest rate at 1.1%.

Overall, the 2018 data showed that 21.0% of the population, or 702,643 children, were out of school, with 20.2% of boys and 21.7% of girls affected. Despite government efforts, both The Cable Index and NMPI reported only a minor reduction of 0.476% by 2022, translating to a reduction of just 3,346 children. 

This  revelation contradicts  statements made by the Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Prof. Salihu Adelabu, who claimed a significant reduction in the number of out-of-school children under Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration.

At a three-day support mission organized by the Ministry for three BESDA AF-TESS beneficiary states (Oyo, Adamawa, and Katsina) in March, Prof. Adelabu asserted that the last administration had managed to get 20% of out-of-school children back into classrooms. 

He emphasized the ongoing efforts to reduce these statistics by a further 10%.

This minimal improvement starkly contrasts with the 20% reduction claimed by the commissioner.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the  discrepancies between the state’s reported improvements and the independent data highlight the urgent need for more effective educational interventions in Oyo State.

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