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Nigeria Has Highest Number of Children Out of School: UN

Nigerian Classroom
A teacher of the 'Tattali Free school' teaches English to children in Kaduna, Nigeria, on July 26, 2012. Photographer: Emilie Iob/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria has the largest number of children globally who miss school as increased insecurity in the north shuts down centers and prevents access, according to the United Nations.

Out of 10.5 million children who aren’t attending school in the nation, 60 percent are girls who live in the north, Unicef’s Nigeria office said in an e-mailed statement today. Violence and security challenges, particularly in the northeast, mean parents have withdrawn their daughters from classes or are unwilling to enroll them, while many schools have closed down, Unicef said.

Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group whose insurgency against Nigeria’s government has killed thousands of people over the past five years in the mainly Muslim north, abducted more than 200 girls from a school in the northeastern town of Chibok in April.

Almost one out of three primary-age and one in four junior-age children are out of school in Africa’s most populous nation of about 170 million, according to Unicef. Schools which remain open in the northeast are often overcrowded, understaffed and under resourced, it said.

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