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Out-of-school children: SCI, BIC move to boost enrolment in Borno, Cross River

Out-of-school children: SCI, BIC move to boost enrolment in Borno, Cross River

Save the Children International in collaboration with BIC under the Safe Back to School Campaign has moved to boost enrolment of children in Borno and Cross River states.

The report has it that about 10.5 million school-age children are still out of school, the highest number in the world even though primary education is officially free and compulsory in Nigeria.

Save the Children has identified some of the reasons for these damning statistics as lack of access, displacement, cultural norms, safety concerns and un-affordability of scholastic materials, such as pens, pencils, and school bags, among others.

In a move to help support school resumption, retention, and transition of students to their next grades, Save the Children, through the generous donation of BIC West and Central Africa Regional Office, distributed 100,000 Lucky pens and learning materials to pupils and schools in Maiduguri, Borno State, and Ogoja, Cross River State, in support of safe school resumption for some of the most vulnerable children in Nigeria.

Maryam Ahmad, Youth Ambassador, Save the Children International Nigeria, said “Being out of school has a significant impact on the protection and wellbeing of children, increasing their vulnerability to exploitation, violence, abuse and neglect. This includes the risk of early child marriage, harmful work, recruitment and use by armed groups, violence in the home and psychological distress “

Ms. Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria while commending the world’s leading stationary brand, for the donation said the gesture demonstrated BIC’s commitment and support towards children’s rights to access safe, free and quality education in Nigeria.

“Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the poorest and marginalized children are most at risk of losing out on learning and not returning to the classroom. Instead they face being forced into child marriage or child labour, and they are at increased risk of having their education and development truncated. We know from previous crisis that the longer children are out of school, the greater the risk that they will never return and that they will lose out on vital learning.’’

Guillaume Groues, BIC Senior Sales Manager West & Central Africa and Deputy General Manager Lucky Stationary Nigeria Ltd said, “the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the education sector globally, and more so in Nigeria. At BIC we believe that education has the power to transform the world and as a brand we are committed to play our part in helping improve the learning conditions of 250 million children around the world. We are proud to team-up with Save the Children to help reach students in need in hopes of sparking joy and imagination during these difficult times.”

Save the Children called on governments at all levels to increase education funding, create targeted interventions to help the most marginalized groups of children who are at the highest risk of dropping out of the return to school, including girls, children with disabilities, internally displaced children, and refugees.

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