Fifteen out of the 36 States in Nigeria have been qualified for Word Bank grant in the education sector comjng on the heels of the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The states are Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kano, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara.
Speaking to newsmen on Thursday, Septrmber 17, at the end of the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja, Governor Nasir el-Rufai said that the 15 states would benefit from the COVID-19 GPE global partnership for education funding.
“These States are above the national average from at least two of three criteria. They made two of the three criteria for GPE funding.
“This is the grant from the World Bank and other donors.”
He announced also that the federal government had emplaced some financial incentives to bolster the states in implementing the COVID-19 education plan.
el-Rufai said that the Minister of State for Education presented a comprehensive memorandum to the council on education in the new normal.
“What the Federal Ministry of Education did today to the NEC was to provide a broad overview of the education sector and look forward to how we can continue with the education of our people in this difficult and unpredictable time.
“Educational institutions worldwide have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, leading to closure of schools at all levels.
“This is an attempt to contain the spread of the virus and save lives. Young people can get the virus and may survive it, but they can come home and infect their parents and grandparents that have a high chance of fatality.
“In Nigeria, the federal ministry of education approved the closure of schools and tertiary institutions on the 19th March 2020, even before a formal lockdown was announced.
“Some actions taken so far to mitigate the learning loss among children by the Fed. Ministry of Education are as follows: 1. Nigeria developed an education sector COVID-19 strategy and National Education Sector COVID-19 Response Plan in collaboration with parastatals, development partners, public health experts, and the Nigerian education group.
“The federal government also constituted a ministerial task force on COVID-19, comprising. 33 out of 36 states and the FCT, including Kaduna, we were the first to roll out an e-learning, digital learning platform with combination of radio and television programme to ensure that our final year students do not lose the entire second and third terms.
“Some of the measures to arrest the potential growth in the number of out of school children, arising from the situation we had before the pandemic and during the pandemic are as follows:
- Disbursement of the federal government of Nigeria, UBE intervention funds to states on equality basis to enable them to implement tangible state based priority projects, including the building of schools or additional classrooms, renovations, rehabilitations, procurement of furniture and equipment etc with focus on enrolling more pupils or having more flexibility to do shifts.
- The Almajiri integrated Quaranic teaching school programmes to mainstream the Almajiri boys into basic education and eradicate the out-of-school children syndrome in northern Nigeria.
- Open schooling, which is principally aimed at reducing the number of out-of-school children in the country, amongst others.”
On the way forward, the governor said that suggestions were made for the development of a national training programme to equip all university lecturers in delivering blended learning, especially the open and distance learning component should by the NUC, National Commission for Colleges of Education, National Board for Technical Education and implementated starting from November 2020.