By Felix Khanoba
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has announced a 20 million dollars grant to Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states to address educational challenges.
The fund which is expected to be channeled towards addressing the issue of out-of-school children, will also help to improve foundational learning skills, establish robust teacher preparation, professional development and recruitment systems, among others.
Flagging-off the implementation of the programme in Abuja on Tuesday, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the GPE Accelerated Funding would leverage on other interventions to achieve the desired goals.
His words: “The GPE Accelerated Funding will anchor on existing interventions by a range of education stakeholders to improve inequities to access and quality learning with a focus on foundational and transferable skills, and governance.
“This grant will focus on select strategic actions that are catalytic in improving the education chitecture in the 3 focal states.
“Furthermore, the GPE Accelerated fund will be applied to selected interventions that will mitigate the challenges and respond to urgent educational needs emerging from the protracted crisis in the NorthEast region, the Covid-19 pandemic and the gaps identified by the Joint Education Needs Assessment (JENA) of the Education Cluster as well as the policies and strategic priorities defined by the three States in the various Education Sector Plans (ESPs) and State Education Sector Operational Plan’ (SESOP).
“Across the three states, the grant will reduce the number of out of school children, establish robust teacher preparation, professional development and recruitment systems, address protection issues, and strengthen leadership capacity for education in emergency for long term sustainability.
“Each activity will include consideration for children within the poorest wealth quintiles to redress inequalities due to poverty and displacement resulting from violent conflict.”
Speaking further, he said the overall target outcome of the joint partnership is to improve access to education through formal and non-formal approaches, improved learning outcomes, saying that the fund will also assist in what the government is doing to ensure that education continues even in conflict situations.
On his part, UNICEF country representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said the GPE accelerated funding has been provided in response to the educational impact of the protracted conflict-led crisis in North-East Nigeria.
The grant, according to him, seeks to support the utilization of a system strengthening approach that seeks to create an emergency-lens diagnostic and culture responsive approach for sustained resilience at all levels of education.
“This is critical taking into consideration the additional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in exacerbating the weakened basic social services delivery that is depriving children of their rights to education and protection.
He stated that as a result of systemic challenges within the education sector in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states with a population of 5.5 million between age 6-15, there is large gender disparity and the lowest performance in almost all critical education indicators compared to other Nigerian states.
He said out of the 5.5 million children, only 4 million children enrolled in Primary and Junior Secondary with over 72 percent of them can’t read simple text even after completion of grade.