By Joseph Erunke
THE federal government has given the $20 million accelerated funding grant for education emergency from the Global Partnership for Education,GPE, to Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu,Tuesday,in Abuja.
The minister explained that government’s action was aimed at tackling educational challenges in the three Northeast states mostly affected by activities of Boko Haram, which he noted, destroyed educational facilities besides the displacement of school children.
Adamu,who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Arc. Sonny Echono, said the grant would assist in improving 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 as well as system strengthening.
According to him, the grant was aimed at providing support to State-driven interventions that transparently address the gaps hindering delivery of quality education through formal and informal approaches to improve learning outcomes in the face of emergencies and inequities which exists within the education sector in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
He said: “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 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.”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (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, 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.
“As a result of systemic challenges within the education sector, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states with a population of 5.5 million between age 6-15, have large gender disparity and the lowest performance in almost all critical education indicators compared to other Nigerian states.
“Out of 5.5 million children, only 4 million children enrolled in Primary and Junior Secondary (40% girls) with over 72% of children who can’t read simple text even after completion of grade.
“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.”