Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB) accessed $6m (over N1.9b) from the World Bank, for the implementation of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), a programme of the Federal Ministry of Education.
Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba disclosed this at the official flag-off of BESDA in the state, held at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna.
Nwajuiba said Niger State was among the 17 states chosen across the country with a high number of out-of-school children.
According to him, 92, 589 children out of the estimated 292, 700 out-of-school children have been successfully enrolled into the programme, adding that the overall out-of-school children in the country has further dropped noticeably with the enrollment of 1, 053, 422 children.
The Minister stated that the successful implementation of BESDA programme by the state UBEB will determine its chances of qualifying for the next round of the programme.
While applauding the Federal Government for initiating the programme and the World Bank for providing the credit support to strengthen Universal Basic Education in the country, the Minister commended the giant stride of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, particularly in the education sector.
Speaking at the event, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello explained why his administration accorded priority to the education sector stressing that it is the foundation of genuine sustainable development.
He acknowledged that the state is on the same page with the Federal Government by making enormous investments in the educational sector in order to strategically reposition it for effective socio-economic development of the state.
Speaking on the progress made so far in the state, the Governor disclosed that “the enthronement of functional education system especially at the basic education level has been part of a deliberate attempt at reducing the number of out-of-school children in the state”, adding that it has been instrumental to the swift successes recorded by the BESDA programme in the state.
He also disclosed that the state, after the completion of training for facilitators and other stakeholders, has conducted mapping on Almajiri clusters in 15 out of the 25 Local Government Areas in the state and has equally been graded in category ‘A’ among the 17 participating states.
Governor Sani Bello also drew the attention of the Federal Government to the size and landmass of the state and impress on it to prioritize provision of Basic Education in the state by situating schools at close proximity to the communities.
He also frowned at parents who release their underaged children to go far away in search of Islamic knowledge describing the situation as a gross violation of the fundamental rights of the children adding that the state government has already started the process of merging western and Islamic education to give the pupils both education which he noted are basic.
Commissioner of Education, Hannatu Jibrin Salihu said that the state was doing its best on Universal Basic Education, adding that even with the COVID-19 pandemic the government, through NSUBEB, introduced lessons on television and radio for pupils at home.
Other guest speakers at the occasion, including; Dr Bala Zakari, Deputy Director Technical, UBEC Abuja, and Mrs Amina Baba Haruna, the Programme Director, Federal Ministry Education -BESDA, commended the efforts being put by the state government to address the issue of out-of-school-children.
Earlier, SUBEB Executive Chairman, Dr Isah Adamu said the state has improved literacy level among many out-of-school children by integrating Quranic Education with formal education.
Dr Adamu appreciated the FG, World Bank and SUBEB for enlisting the state among the 17 states for BESDA programme.