It is estimated that 10.5 million Nigerian children aged 5-14 currently do not attend school, due to a range of socio-cultural and economic factors, including insufficient access to and lack of capacity of educational facilities as well as high student to teacher ratios and overall gender marginalisation.
The Nigerian Universal Basic Educational Commission (UBEC) has developed a range of policies which aim to address the issues of school attendance, and established the Universal Basic Education Commission Act in 2004. This Act states that periodic National Personnel Audits (NPAs) of teaching and non-teaching staff should be carried out in all basic primary educational institutions in the country for policy making purposes.
On 16 December 2019, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, representing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, officially released UBEC’s 2018 NPA dataset. The launch was attended by a large number of key national and governmental organisations, including the Minister of Environment; the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development; DFID Nigeria; USAID, as well as other key stakeholders in the Nigerian education sector.
The NPA dataset contains geo-located national school data that includes details on each school, classifying school type, facilities available, number of teachers and attendance figures broken down by age group. The release of the NPA data is an important milestone for UBEC and Nigeria and marked the first time a Nigerian government institution has conducted country-wide geospatial data collection, capturing all school geo-locations and relevant characteristics. At the launch, GRID3 Nigeria presented its preliminary analysis on how the selection of new school locations can be optimised by combining the NPA data with the GRID3 gridded population estimates and harmonised administrative boundaries. The study revealed that for the aspired 99.1% enrollment of school-age children 5 – 10 years old who live within 2km of a school location, the country would need an additional 20,000 schools placed in strategic locations.