The North-east states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe have received the sum of $20 million accelerated funding grant to tackle the menace of out-of-school children and other educational challenges facing the region.
The grant, which was given by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is to also 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 as well as system strengthening.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony for the implementation of the programme in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, 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.
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 education in the three 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.”
He said 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.
On his part, 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.
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,” Hawkins said.
He stated that as a result of systemic challenges within the education sector, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States with a population of 5.5 million between age six and 15, have large gender disparity and the lowest performance in almost all critical education indicators compared to other Nigerian states and include 5.5 million children, only 4 million children enrolled in primary and junior secondary (40% girls) with over 72% of children can’t read simple text even after completion of grade.
Hawkins 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.