The United Nations Children Fund UNICEF says it is working closely with governments of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to reduce the number of out of school children.

UNICEF Chief of Education in Nigeria Saadhna Panday-Soobrayan stated this at a one-day seminar on foundational literacy and numeracy in North East held in Maiduguri.

The objective of the seminar is to discuss approaches to addressing the learning challenges affecting school children in the region and how to improve and the two learning models, that is Teaching at the Right Level and Kanuri Arithmetic and Reading Intervention.

Panday-Soobrayan said three out of four children in the county cannot read or solve simple mathematics problem.

According to her, this has not only fuel the out of school problem but also increase the number of school drop out especially in the North East.

“Nigeria is in the unenviable position of knowing what to do to improve learning and how to do it. The time is now to begin scaling it across all the local government areas” UNICEF Chief remarked.

North East UNICEF Chief of Field Office Phuong Nguyen disclosed that at least 1.6 million children are out of school in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

She however stressed that the UN education agency has been supporting state governments in the region to implement effective evidence-based programmes to strengthen foundational literacy and numeracy.

“Addressing the learning crisis in North East and in Nigeria as a whole requires us to examine the evidence of what works, explore partnerships with the State, NGOs, development partners and communities. This seminar provides us with a platform to share evidence, experiences and to renew our commitment to improving learning outcomes of schoolgirls and boys” Nguyen said.

The seminar has in attendance officials of Federal ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education and Universal Basic Education Boards from the three states, academia, development partners, civil society organisations and the private sector.

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