The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says about 10 million Nigerian children have dropped out of school because of the inability of parents to pay school fees and provide learning materials for their children and wards.
Disclosing this in a paper titled “Connecting the individual to Lifelong and Life-wide Reading Culture: The imperatives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4),” the Head, Department of Library and Information Science, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Prof Blessing Ahiauzu noted that most parents and teachers in the country were grappling with poverty, insecurity and lack of basic amenities while many children suffer in displaced persons (IDPs) camps.
Ahiauzu who delivered the paper at a readership promotion campaign programme organized by the National Library of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday called on the government and other stakeholders to make education more accessible to Nigerian boys and girls, pointing out that the current spate of killings, insurgency, poverty and economic recession were among the numerous challenges facing early childhood education in the country.
According to her, the availability of functional public and school libraries manned by professionals with adequate facilities would go a long way in boosting the country’s educational system, adding that employment opportunities for economic empowerment, electricity supply, security, quality early childhood development facilities, parents background, training and retraining of teachers, among others, form part of the safe and effective lifelong learning and reading environments.
In his speech, the National Librarian/Chief Executive Officer, National Library, Prof Lanrie Aina explained that the campaign was to encourage reading among Nigerians, ensure increase of reading and learning materials and to identify major obstacles that inhibit reading and ways to address them, pointing out that the National Library has over the years continued to embark on such readership promotion campaigns for children and youth as future leaders, as a way of sensitizing, informing, educating and advancing their knowledge and creativity through literary activities.