Out-of –School children campaign to get World Bank $611m

All northern states, Rivers, Oyo, Ebonyi lead in out-of School-children

The problem of out-of school children in Nigeria has received the attention of the World Bank as the global bank has pledged a $611 million support.

The Coordinator of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme, Prof. Gidado Tahir, made this known Friday, during a meeting of Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board on modalities for the implementation of the programme.

Tahir who lamented the alarming rate of out-of-school children as a worrisome phenomenon, explained that the World Bank fund was meant to tackle the problem in the country.

“Whenever you attend international conferences and conventions, Nigeria is being described as one of the top nations with huge number of out-of-school children.

“The Federal Ministry of Education therefore decided to make the issue one of its top priority areas to find a way of tackling the issue.

“This attracted the World Bank who accepted to provide the Nigerian Government with $611 million dollars to implement BESDA in line with Universal Basic Education Commission programme.

“UBEC is focusing on increasing access, quality and ensuring equity; BESDA is also tailoring its attention towards doing that, but specifically focusing more on out-of-school children,” the coordinator said.

Tahir further disclosed that BESDA major agenda would be increasing access for out-of-school children and ensuring that children who attend school could read, write and manipulate figures.

He affirmed that another basic objective of the programme was to strengthen accountability in the school system which, he said, has been very weak over the years.

According to him, 17 states with the highest number of out-of-school children in the country would participate in the programme.

The states include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger, Ebonyi, Rivers, and Oyo.

The  states, he said, have more than 30 per cent of their school-age children out of school.

Also speaking, UBEC Coordination Support Team, Malam Iro Umar, explained that the meeting was organised for Kaduna SUBEB as implementing partner to understand the processes involved in the implementation of the

Umar said that out of the $611 million dollars, $578 million would be expended on Programme for Result (P for R) and $33 million on Technical Assistance (TA).

He explained that under the P for R, states would be rewarded for result achieved within a given period based on the number of out-of-school children they were able to return or enroll in school by gender.

On the technical assistance component, Umar said that $33 million dollars would be spent on various activities to strengthen the capacity of Federal and State government officials to improve monitoring and evaluation as well as data evaluation.

“The component will also increase effectiveness and transparency in UBE programme management and strengthen intergovernmental coordination in areas of policy formulation, strategic planning and monitoring of UBE programme implementation.

“Design and implementation of national learning assessment and a research agenda to inform UBE programme implementation and provide the analytical underpinning for future initiatives focused on out-of-school children.

Executive Chairman, Kaduna SUBEB, Nasiru Umar ,who spoke earlier, said  we will go a long way in helping the state to get over 700,000 out-of-school children back to school.

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