SPECIAL REPORT: Kano, Akwa Ibom, eight other states housed most of Nigeria’s out-of-school children



The 10 states at the top of the chart had about 5.2 million of the country’s about 10.2 million out-of-school children.

Ten states were homes to more than half of Nigeria’s out-of-school children, data published in the 2018 digest of basic education statistics by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) shows.

The data was also published last month by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its 2020 report on women and men. It shows that a quarter of Nigeria’s 40.8 million school-age children were not attending primary education.
The 10 states at the top of the chart had about 5.2 million of the country’s about 10.2 million out-of-school children.

Kano State had the most with 989,234, while Akwa-Ibom (581,800), Katsina (536,122) and Kaduna (524,670) followed closely.

Other states that ranked high on the list are Taraba (499,923), Sokoto (436,570), Yobe (427,230), Zamfara (422,214) and Bauchi (354,373).

The states with the lowest numbers of out-of-school children were Cross River with 97,919, Abia with 91,548, Kwara with 84,247, Enugu with 82,051, Bayelsa with 53,079, FCT with 52,972 and Ekiti with 50,945.

Meanwhile, the national estimate of 10.2 million itself is a quarter of the country’s school-age population at the time – children between six and 11 years – 40.8 million.

Although education minister, Adamu Adamu, said earlier this year that the figure has dropped to 6.9 million, no official data is available to substantiate this.

This means that as of 2018, for every four Nigerian children between the ages of 6 and 11 years, one had no access to primary school education.

Boys were worse affected as they made up 62 per cent of the national total, with girls making up the remaining 38 per cent.

State-by-state gender distribution of out-of-school children

Overall, boys made up 53 per cent (21.5 million) and girls 47 per cent (19.3 million) of the school-age population in the country.


Relative to their school-age population (children between 6 and 11 years), Yobe, Taraba, Zamfara, Sokoto and Rivers had the highest percentages of out-of-school children.

Of the 983,469 school-age children in Yobe State, 427,230 of them were not in school, representing 43 per cent (or 4 in 10 children).

State-by-state proportion of out-of-school children

Taraba State had 42 per cent of its 499,923 school-age children out-of-school.

In banditry-ravaged Zamfara, there were 422,214 out-of-school, about 41 per cent of its school-age children. Its northwest neighbouring state of Sokoto had 436,570 out-of-school children, representing 37 per cent of its 1,170,040 school-age children.

Rivers State completed the top five states with the highest percentage of school-age children not in school in 2018. Of the oil-rich state’s 554,927 school-age children, 34 per cent or 188,590 were not in school.

Of the 37 states, 13 had more out-of-school children than the national average.

At the foot of the log was Lagos State with 254,654 (19 per cent of its school-age population), Imo with 275,890 (17 per cent), Ekiti with 50,945, (17 per cent), Anambra with 118,314 (15 per cent) and Abuja with 52,972 (14 per cent).


Nationally, more boys were out of school than girls, the UBEC data shows.

However, Sokoto (47 per cent), Taraba (43 per cent), Zamfara (41 per cent), Niger (38 per cent) and Edo (35 per cent) had the highest proportion of female out-of-school children.

Ebonyi (six per cent), Imo (four per cent), FCT-Abuja (three per cent), Ondo and Delta each with one per cent had the least proportions of girls not attending schools.

On the other hand, Yobe had 53 per cent, Plateau 48 per cent, Rivers 46 per cent, Borno 45 per cent, Zamfara 41 per cent, and Taraba 40 per cent of their male children out of school.

Adamawa had 19 per cent, Kebbi 17 per cent, Kogi 16 per cent, Niger 7 per cent, and Edo four per cent, making them states with the least male proportion of out-of-school children.


In terms of numbers, the states with the largest out-of-school female children in 2018 were Akwa-Ibom (298,161), Sokoto (270,586), Katsina (267,132), Niger (257,165), and Taraba states (246,123).

Male and female population of out-of-school children

The states with the lowest numbers of out-of-school children were Ekiti (15,955), Ebonyi (15,454), Ondo (8,700), FCT-Abuja (4,678) and Delta State (3,668).

On the other hand, the states with highest numbers of out-of-school male children were Kano (748,468), Yobe (334,556), Ondo (309,000) Plateau (297,342) and Akwa-Ibom (283,639).

The states with the lowest numbers of boys not attending schools were Niger (35,535), Ekiti (34,990), Abia (33,761), Bayelsa (24,344), and Edo states (8,061).


With 33 per cent, the North-east had the highest proportion of its school-age children out-of-school. This was followed by North-central with 26 per cent; North-west with 25 per cent; South-south, 24 per cent; South-west with 22; and South-east with 19 per cent.

Regional out-of-school children

In terms of volume, the North-west had the highest number with about 3.5 million children out of school, followed by the North-east with above 2 million children.

How each region's out-of-school children compares with their school age population

The South-west, with about 1.5 million children, placed third, while the North-central followed with about 1.3 million.

The South-south had 1.2 million and the South-east 713,176 out-of-school kids.

As Nigeria continues to grapple with terror attacks across the country, there are fears that many out-of-school children could end up in the growing army of terrorists and violent criminals now savaging the country.


Source: Premium Times

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