The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) puts Nigeria as the country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world.
Nigeria has maintained this record since 2018 when the country had 13.2 million out-of-school children. The most populous African nation is obviously at an educational disadvantage with its teeming population and poor leadership.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, about 18.5 million children do not have access to education in Nigeria. 60% of this population of out-of-school children are girls as reported by Rahama Farah, head of the UNICEF office in Kano. The statistics, it implies that one in five out-of-school children in the world is a Nigerian.
The northern part of the country has a higher number of out-of-school children, and this is suggested to be a result of insurgency in the area.14 out of the 17 states in the country with the highest number of out-of-school children are in northern Nigeria. Schools are not left out of target by criminal elements and this has further discouraged a healthy and progressive learning environment.
UNICEF reports that in the year 2021, about 1,500 students were kidnapped by insurgents and other criminal elements in the country, and some of them are yet to be freed.
In 2021, about 25 attacks were made on schools. More than 11,000 schools have been shut down over rising insecurity in the country since 2020.
The activities of insurgents in Nigerian schools gained global attention with the abduction of 200 Chibok students in north-eastern Nigeria. Today, the statistics and boldness of insurgents have grown beyond containment. University students, university staff, and researchers have not been spared in the kidnapping spree.
In the eastern part of the country, there is the case of sit-at-home which has continued to disrupt the academic environment in the region.
Nigeria has the highest number of universities in Africa yet not one of its universities makes it to the first 100 universities in the world. University education in the country is engulfed in academic strikes, poor funding, and mismanagement of the limited allocated resources which keeps retarding progressive learning and research.
Finally, a survey of the quality of learning offered in public primary and secondary schools is more alarming. This has encouraged the increased preference for private schools in the country which cuts off poor Nigerians from accessing quality education. As rightly put, there are more non-learners in Nigerian schools than those out of school.