Prof. Mufutau Tijani, of French and Applied Linguistics at the University of Abuja has said that population expansion will lead to an increase in the number of out of school children.
Tijani disclosed this speaking as a keynote speaker at a conference last weekend organised by the French Embassy in partnership with the French Institute of Nigeria with the theme: “Demographic dynamics and the challenges of school enrolment in Nigeria.”
He noted that population explosion poses a threat to education especially girl-child education and that more children will be out of school. He stated that if the government fails to take immediate action, it will struggle to provide infrastructures to meet the needs of the rising population.
He cited the World Bank and United Nations to project Nigeria’s population to be 400 million by 2050, making Nigeria the third most populated country on earth after India and China.
“Looking at the population in Nigeria, we are the largest in Africa and 6th in the World. The United Nations has been making projections that in some years to come Nigeria will be the third largest country in the world which is alarming. It is an emergency. When there is overpopulation there are many negative impacts on society. The girl-child is always at the receiving end of it. The increase in population will create more demands for education without seeing the need to take the girl-child along.
“In most areas, girls are denied access to education. Some religious and cultural beliefs some people still don’t allow their girls to go to school. Imagine we’re 224 million by the time we become 330 million those girls who don’t go to school, will end up getting married, at a very tender age, and they start procreating amid dependency and poverty adding to the increasing population. The population increases the demand, he said.”
Speaking on the way forward, he stressed on the need to enforce family planning and girl-child education especially in the northern part of the country where he believes is more affected by these.
Also speaking, Judikael Regnaut, Director of the French Institute of Nigeria, said the institute is committed to events that create the platform for conversations that will lead to development not just in education but other sectors.
“Education is key to Nigeria and also to the world. We intend to host more of this kind of conferences in this institute to raise consciousness about key topics, and then after we can translate it to support. We’re very involved in higher education programs and creating profitable partnerships, he said.”
Other speakers at the event include Ahamefuna Agbo, Programme Manager, British Council (KaLMA); Kate Kanebi, Programme Manager (Education), Delegatiom of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS; and Jutaro Sakamoto, Education Manager, UNICEF.