Education is one of the necessities of life just like food, clothing and shelter. Education helps individuals to realize their full potentials as it gives direction to their future. Education is also important to social, economic, political and technological development of a nation. The level of development of any nation reflects the level of education of its citizens.
It is owing to the importance of education that the United Nations in 1948 adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that recognizes education as a human right in its Article 26 which states that: “Everyone has the right to education.” Similarly, Goal 4 target 4.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also aims to ensure that ‘by 2030 all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.’
It is however surprising that despite the recognition of education as a human right, many children in Nigeria have no opportunity to acquire basic education. According to Universal Basic Education Commission of Nigeria, “…the population of Nigeria’s out-of-school children has increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million and again the highest in the world!”
Some of the reasons for high levels of out-of-school children in Nigeria include amongst others instability in the country caused by Boko Haram which has displaced people from their homes, poverty, and distance to schools.
It is based on the above that the HELP project aims to support the displaced children, the orphans and economically disadvantaged children and youth who have completed primary school to acquire secondary school education. While many children and youth are out of school for different reasons, the HELP project will focus primarily on the displaced children, the orphans and those children and youth whom low income of parents or guardian has kept them out of school. Priority will however be placed on the displaced children and the orphans more than the economically disadvantaged. While our primary focus is on secondary school education, in some critical cases where the HELP project can, it will also support primary and tertiary education.
2.0 Project goal
Economically disadvantaged children and youth, orphans and displaced children in Nigeria acquire secondary school education and vocational skills, laying a foundation for their prosperous future
- The HELP project has the following objectives:To identify orphans, the displaced and economically disadvantaged children and youth that are out of secondary school.
- To solicit for support from individuals and organizations to assist the identified out-of-school children and youth to acquire secondary school education and vocational skills.
- To collaborate with schools and other relevant stakeholders towards providing educational opportunities for the orphans, the displaced and the economically disadvantaged out-of-school children and youth
4.0 Project target
By year 2030, 100,000 orphans, displaced and economically disadvantaged children and youth (comprising of estimated 40% males and 60% females) are supported to acquire secondary school education and vocational skill in Nigeria.
To assist the orphans, the displaced and economically disadvantaged children and youth to acquire secondary school education, the HELP project will work with volunteers, community leaders, religious leaders, school authorities, civil society organizations and government ministries and agencies to identify these children and youth from communities. The HELP project will engage interested volunteers who will work with community and religious leaders, government ministries and agencies and other civil society organizations to identify these children and youth who are out of school from communities. Criteria shall be set for deciding whom to consider as a potential beneficiary – orphans without anyone to support their education, children displaced as a result of communal crisis or terrorist attacks whose parents have lost sources of income and no longer can sponsor their education, children of very low income parents. Priority will however be given to the first two criteria: displaced children and orphans. The volunteers will seek to know if the child or youth truly needs to be supported. To establish this, the volunteers will ask the child or youth certain questions and the answers will highlight the background of the child or youth. The volunteers will also seek information from some respected members of the community including community and religious leaders to confirm that a child or youth truly deserves to be supported.
In some cases, these children may be identified by some civil society organizations working in communities, or by traditional and religious leaders and recommend to the HELP project to seek support for them.
The HELP project will identify different schools in different locations where the identified children and youth shall be enrolled. The HELP project team will pay visits to schools they want to participate in the project and explain to them the project objectives and how the schools can support the project. Schools that will be selected to participate in this project will be schools that are around the communities from which these children and youth are from. The schools must be schools that operate a bank account and in which schools fees for the children and youth can be paid. The schools should also be able to give waivers on some admission procedures such as pre-admission examinations for these children and youth.
Having identified the schools where the children will be enrolled, the HELP project team will seek support from the public to support the enrollment and payment of school fees for the identified children throughout their secondary school education or for specific number of terms or years. Soliciting for this support will be done through the radio, social media, fliers and church publications and other medium. The list of the identified children and youth will be published online with names of schools nearest to them. The selection and publication of list of the identified children will be done prior to the time of admission to give room to seek for sponsors. Interested members of the public who wish to support the education of any of these children will pick any of the children they want from the list and the school they want them enrolled in. Payment of school fees will be made directly by the person sponsoring a child to the school of choice. Once payment is made and confirmed to the HELP project team, the team will follow up with the school and facilitate the enrollment of the child whose school fees had been paid to the school. The project team will follow up on the sponsors to remind them when to pay subsequent school fees depending on how long they have committed to pay. One of the policies of the HELP project is that, NO VOLUNTEER OR PROJECT MEMBER OF THE HELP PROJECT IS ALLOWED TO COLLECT MONEY FROM ANY SPONSOR TO PAY SCHOOL FEES FOR ANY CHILD. All payment of school fees should be made directly to the schools or paid into ISEA’s bank account for onward payment of fees. The HELP project will first start in selected states of Nigeria (Benue, Katsina and FCT) but will gradually be expanded to cover the whole country.
Before the enrolled
children complete secondary school, probably when they are 2 years away from
completing their secondary education or immediately after they complete their
education, the HELP project will source for funding from donor organizations
and individuals to assist these children to acquire vocational skills of their
choice that will be useful to them in the communities where they live. The
reason for ensuring that they acquire vocational skills is so that they can
find a source of income that can help them to fend for themselves or further
their education to tertiary institutions after secondary school.
 Punch Newspaper – https://punchng.com/nigerias-13-2-million-out-of-school-children/