Nigerian govt to provide free meals for out-of-school children

The Alternate School Programme National Steering Committee has said free meals will be provided for out-of-school children, adding that the parents of such children will be provided with Conditional Cash Transfer while the children are being educated.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of the committee and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, who said the inability of out-of-school children to access education was partly due to their socio-economic obstacles. She stated that the problem will be tackled through several distinct measures.
Farouq said this at the fifth meeting of the Technical Working Group of the Alternate School Programme Steering Committee held on Monday at the Treasury House, Abuja.
According to her Special Adviser on Media, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, the meeting was convened as a follow-up after members of the TWG visited selected cluster sites in each of the six geo-political zones and FCT to assess the plight of the children.
Farouq was quoted as saying, “We have aimed to tackle this problem in a multi-pronged fashion by not only providing educational opportunities to the OOSC but simultaneously providing them buffers against challenges that impede their ability to access education; for example, daily feeding for them when they are being educated by us and Conditional Cash Transfers for their parents to enable their active participation. This will be done through the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs) under the Ministry as this is a much-needed intervention for this vulnerable section of the population.”
The Minister also explained that the field expedition has thrown more light on the plight of out-of-school children in the country which will also help in the planning and provision of infrastructure for their re-integration into the school system.
“We will hear the much-needed feedback on the beneficiaries, the environments and how the ASP can effectively be situated in these places. It is hoped that these visits have given the Technical Working Group much-needed insight into how this programme can be scaled up on a national level in line with the wishes of Mr President; and how they can improve their designs on implementation for the imminent rollout of this programme,” she said.
Some of the resolutions adopted by the Committee include the immediate conduct of a census of OOSC in the country, the immediate take-off of the Alternate School Programme Hubs and the provision of adequate budgetary allocation for the School Feeding Programme to cater for the ASP Hubs.
States visited include Kano, Enugu, Rivers, Borno, Plateau, Lagos and the FCT.(Punch)

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