KADUNA State government plans to introduce new laws that will result in parents facing prosecution for not sending their children to school as part of an ambitious drive to reduce the number of out-of-school kids.
Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world with the number of kids not in full time education currently standing at 13.2m. According to a recent Demographic Health Survey this unfortunate phenomenon came about due to a combination of factors including financial incapacitation, violent conflicts and ignorance on the part of parents/guardians.
One of the worst affected states, Kaduna has suffered from this high level of truancy as it has been plagued by banditry. In a bid to stem the plague, Phoebe Yayi, the permanent secretary in the Kaduna State Ministry of Education, said that every child has the right to free, compulsory and universal basic education and the state government has a duty to provide such education.
She added that in meeting this obligation, the Kaduna State government has declared free education to every child from primary to secondary school in the state. Furthermore, she explained that the move was part of measures to ensure that every resident of the state was literate, and have a quality life.
Ms Yayi: “Therefore, parents have no excuse not to send their children to school, as the government has taken off all financial burden from parents. You should be aware that the Child Welfare and Protection Law, 2018, section 18 (6), stipulates that any parent or guardian who fails to send his or her child to school commits an offence.
“It added that a parent is liable on a first conviction to be reprimanded and ordered to undertake community service and on second conviction risk fine or imprisonment or both. As such, sending your children to school is no longer a choice, but compulsory and failure to do so is a criminal offence with a possible jail term.”
She warned that on no account should any parent deny his or her child the right to education, which would unlock the child’s full potential for a better future. In addition, the permanent secretary added that even adults were given a second chance to acquire education in the spirit of not living anyone behind.