It is World Poetry Day and Nigeria has continued to witness a decline in the number of great writers and poets it has.

Poetry has its power of changing the people, but the dying reading habit is not helping matters.

There have been calls for the reform of Nigeria’s education system that has consistently headed south because of the same input from the government’s budget each passing year.

Now, UNICEF has released a report that placed Nigeria’s out-of-school children at 13 million, being the world’s highest figure.

It will not be a surprise to many Nigerians who have seen a population growth that has continued to beat predictions, with figures higher than what statistics have provided.

The input has not matched the population growth, but an educationist, Dr Godwin Ukaegbu, believes the Federal Government is on the right track with its School Feeding Programme.

He is asking the government to sustain its School Feeding Programme in order to check the out-of-school syndrome in the country.

Ukaegbu, who is a school curriculum development expert from the University of Port Harcourt, described the programme as laudable

“Hunger could potentially contribute to low child-school enrolment,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria.

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Ukaegbu said: “the feeding programme of Buhari’s administration made positive impact in child-school enrolment in most states where it is practiced.“It is good the government maintains the social intervention that will enable parents not to worry about children being hungry during school hours”.

He described the figure as staggering but hoped it could be overcome with sustainable government’s social intervention scheme, such as the School Feeding Programme.

Ukaegbu advocated the full implementation of the programme across the federation, to ensure that every school child in Nigeria benefited from it.

“This will help to make the school attractive to children and take the burden of catering for the child’s lunch away from indigent parents,” he said.

The educationist also asked the Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies of the government to effectively discharge their supervisory role on public schools in order to build students-cum-parents’ confidence in the school system. 

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