…680,000 out of School Children in Kaduna
By Lola Seriki-Idahosa, Kaduna
Tracereporters –Stakeholders and partners in Kaduna state, under education namely, Ministry of Education, UNICEF, SUBEB, KSSLB, Peace Commission, Bureau of Interfaith, Save the Children, JNI, CAN, Media, KADBEAM, AGILE, PWD has convene a media parley and stakeholders roundtable for International Day of Education 2024 Commemoration in Kaduna State.
The Meeting was to build on the theme of the recently celebrated International Day of Education by promoting dialogue, collaboration and awareness on the crucial role of stakeholders within the educational ecosystem in promoting safe and violent free schools in Kaduna State
The meeting which was held at Ihifix Innovation Hub, Jabi Road Kaduna on Wednesday with theme: Promoting Safe and Violence-Free Schools (#learningforlastingpeace), sponsored by Kaduna state Ministry of Education in collaboration with PLANE, KADBEAN, and include UKaid, DAI.
Responding to a question, Salisu Baba Lawal, Director, Planning, Ministry of Education, Kaduna State said that the state government has concrete plan for the Kaduna slums areas.
He said that already there’s an international donor project sets to Facelift all Slums areas including reaching out to those children.
According to him, there are plan by the state government to Facelift Kaduna Slums areas, which the fund will also be use to upgrade our schools in these slums areas.
He said that the programme, is a social development-focused project, which is predominantly about economic empowerment, improving the value, the lifestyle, access to health, access to education, and access to socio infrastructure, which will be supporting the seven-point agenda of the Governor Uba Sani.
Also speaking, Bala Dada, Education Specialist, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said about six hundred and eighty thousand (680,000) children, are out of school in Kaduna State.
He said the numerous attacks on schools by insecurities and criminal gangs in the north have particularly harmed children’s education, he said.
According to him, “These attacks have created a precarious learning environment, discouraged parents and guardians from sending their children to school,” Bala Dada said.
In her presentation, Hadiza Nasiru, Safeguarding Advisor, Partnership for Learning for All in Nigeria (PLANE) said  school should ideally be a sanctuary-a space where young minds can flourish without fear of harm or intimidation. But that the reality often falls short of this ideal, with incidents of violence and insecurity casting a shadow over the educational landscape.
According to her, “Today, however, we come together with a shared commitment to change this narrative. We recognize that promoting safety and fostering a culture of peace within our schools is not merely a lofty aspiration but an urgent imperative. For it is within the walls of these institutions that we have the power to sow the seeds of empathy, respect, and understanding -the very foundations upon which lasting peace is built.
“Through collaborative efforts, proactive strategies, and unwavering dedication, we aim to create learning environments where every student feels valued, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential. By prioritizing safety and well-being alongside academic excellence, we not only safeguard the future of our youth but also contribute to the collective pursuit of a more harmonious society.
 As we embark on this journey together, let us remain steadfast in our resolve, knowing that every action we take today has the power to shape a brighter tomorrow. Together, let us champion the cause of safe and violence-free schools, for in doing so, we pave the way for a future where learning truly becomes a catalyst for lasting peace”.
 In her goodwill message, the permanent Commissioner, Kaduna Peace Commission Mrs Rebecca Sako-John commended the organisers of the program.
She said the Commission has been working with communities in the state and will include schools in Peace Commission.
According to her, “we in Peace Commission commends the organisers of this program, the schools are not free from bullying, sexual harassment, young people are being intimidated into sexuality.
She however stated that the kaduna Peace Commission will be willing to work with the stakeholders in education to uplift the standard of education in kaduna state.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna State chapter Rev. Ma’aji Caleb said the Association is ready and willing to give its own support in the development of education sector.
Earlier while setting the tone for discussions the media Coordinator, Mr Uangbaoje Alex said the purpose of the meeting was for the participants to suggest ways forward in the series of engagements the Ministry of Education intends to have between the media in order to avoid a repeat or reoccurrence of last administration whereby there was no adequate publicity for the Ministry.

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