Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States have received a total of N7.6 billion (about $20m) funding grant to tackle the menace of out-of-school children and other educational challenges facing the states.
The three North-east states got the grant from Global Partnership for Education (GPE), to help improve foundational learning skills, establish robust teacher preparation, professional development and recruitment systems, address protection issues, and strengthen leadership capacity for education in emergency for long-term sustainability.
The North-east region has been severely hit by conflicts arising from the Boko Haram insurgency, poverty, and now compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, all of which have contributed to the widening gaps in accessing education in Nigeria.
Three states with a population of 5.5 million between the ages of six and 15 have large gender disparity and the lowest performance in almost all critical education indicators compared to other Nigerian states. Of about 5.3 million children in these states, only four million children enrolled in primary and junior secondary, while over 72 percent of the children can’t read simple text even after completion of grade.
Adamu Adamu, minister of Education said the GPE Accelerated Funding seeks to support state-driven interventions that transparently address the gaps in delivering education in emergency and inequities existing within the education sector in each of the BAY (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe) States.
Adamu while speaking at flag off ceremony for the implementation of the programme in Abuja Tuesday said the GPE Accelerated Funding would 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.
According to him, “This grant will focus on select strategic actions that are catalytic in improving the education in the three focal states.
Peter Hawkins, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative in Nigeria said the GPE accelerated funding has been provided in response to the educational impact of the protracted conflict-led crisis in North-east Nigeria.
Hawkins said the grant seeks to support the utilisation 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,” Hawkins said.
He further said the GPE partnership will address key critical gaps in enhancing, protection and gender-linked inequitable access to education and other key critical gaps through systemic capacity development in crisis and gender responsive planning and implementations, provisioning of gender responsive classrooms and learning materials, safeguarding child rights, and community-based child protection mechanisms.
Adamu Adamu further noted that 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 North-east 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 inequities due to poverty and displacement resulting from violent conflict.”
To him, “the overall targeted outcome of joint partnership is to improve access to education through formal and non-formal approaches, improved learning outcomes, adding that the fund will also assist in what the government is doing to ensure that education continues even in conflict situations.