BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA—THE Federal Government has said that the sum of N109.4 billion has been provided to the universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education under the high impact initiatives of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund.
Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, who disclosed this at the dissemination of the World Bank Skills Note for Nigeria in Abuja, said the amount was in five phases and that all the 51 federal and state polytechnics in the country would benefit from the development and rehabilitation of their laboratories to bring them to 21st century standard.
“58 federal and state Colleges of Education are benefitting from the construction of micro-teaching laboratories at a cost of N11.6bn. This is to enhance the application of modern technology in the teaching/learning process.
“These are just a tip of some of the actions that the government is taking towards addressing the challenges of the sector. One thing is clear as we move towards achieving our goals. We need the partnership of non-government agencies to achieve greater success.
“It is for this reason that funding, partnerships, resource mobilization and utilization are focal areas of our strategic plan. We appreciate the input of the World Bank and their development partners in the drive to improve access and provide quality education in the country.”
The minister said the dissemination of the skills note would provide insight to challenges as well as further strategies towards addressing them, adding that it would complement other works in the areas of youth employment and the state education sector implementation plans.
She said President Goodluck Jonathan will continue to use the transformation agenda as the launch pad for transforming the education sector as the future of the country depended on education.
“Education will help us tackle poverty, unemployment, enhance social cohesion and also tackle population explosion. It will help to deepen democratic principles and the development of active citizenship.
“Education will enhance the development of entrepreneurial flair among our citizens and enhance participation in social and economic affairs.
“Ultimately, education will provide avenue for enduring competitive advantage for Nigeria, placing us at the right position on top of the world social, economic and political affairs,” she stated.
The Minister noted that it was in a bid to actualize the transformation agenda that a four-year strategic plan for the development of the education sector from 2011-2015 was developed.
“At the basic education level, a one-year Early Childhood Care and Development Education, ECCDE, programme has been incorporated in the education system. With this, all public primary schools are to provide ECCDE sections, thereby providing children with the opportunity of pre-primary education.”
In her remarks, the World Bank Nigeria Country Director, Mrs. Marie Franciose Marie-Nelly, noted with dismay that about 10.5 million children out of school in the country were mostly from the Northern part of Nigeria, rural areas and poor families.
She said that the meeting would look into regional disparity, gender disparity, poor quality of education and access of education especially in the Northern part of the country where she noted that some people that had completed primary education were basically illiterates.