The minister of education, Adamu Adamu, on Thursday announced that the World Bank has provided a total of $611 million to support the Nigerian government in strengthening universal basic education.
Mr Adamu made this disclosure in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, while speaking at the launch of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), a program initiated by the World Bank to support the Nigerian government in strengthening education across the country.
He highlighted that Nigeria has the highest number of the out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa, with an estimate of 13.2m.
At the launch were deputy governor of Oyo state, Moses Adeyemo, commissioner for information, culture and tourism, Toye Arulogun, among others.
Mr Adamu, who spoke through the director, Basic Secondary Education in the ministry, Lami Amodu, noted that the government is strengthening the quality of basic education in Nigeria to confront factors that deny children access to basic education.
Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA)
He commended the World Bank for initiating BESDA and the provision of the sum of $611 million in strengthening Universal Basic Education as well as addressing the first pillar of the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) 2016 – 2019 on out-of-school children.
Mr Adamu said that BESDA focuses on 17 states in the country which includes the entire 13 states of the North West and North East geo-political zones, Niger, Oyo, Ebonyi and Rivers, saying, “It is gratifying that Oyo State is the second among the 17 states that have successfully commenced the implementation process.
He said, “I am indeed very delighted over the bold step taken by Governor Ajimobi for being the second out of 17 states covered by BESDA to formally launch the program.
“This is a clear demonstration on Governor Ajimobi’s quality leadership and his personal commitment to education as well as the passion to revitalise our education sector in order to develop the abundant human capital of the state.
“Let me appreciate the World Bank for initiating the BESDA and the provision of a total sum of $611million to support the Nigerian government in strengthening universal basic education as well as addressing the first pillar of the ministerial strategic plan 2016-2019 on out of school children”.
Mr Adamu explained that BESDA is a program that will result in better life of all our children as the cardinal objective is to increase equitable access for out of school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results at the basic education level in the focus states.
He added that ensuring the out-of-school children are back to school and learning will not be only a moral and legal obligation. He said it will also a productive investment that will guarantee the future of our children and ensure that their rights are protected, as enshrined in the Child’s Right Act 2003.
Mr Ajimobi said that the present administration in the state has done a credible directional road-map to guide the operation of all stakeholders in the education sector. He said the state government has also spent huge amount of resources with a view to ensure quantitative and qualitative education service delivery in the state.
He said, “It is worthy to note that our government has not defaulted in the provision of matching grants for the provision of infrastructural facilities to enhance basic education delivery in the state.
“We commend the FG and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for ensuring the quality education at all levels. We cherish and consider a great privilege and wish to assure the Federal government of Nigeria that the state will put in place all necessary mechanism to ensure the successful implementation of BESDA.
The executive secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, while explaining the rationale behind the program, maintained that the BESDA was introduced to address the menace of out of school children, especially in the northern part of the country.
Mr Bobboyi, who was represented by Wadata Wadaki, posited that the rising rate of Boko Haram insurgency, Kidnapping, hooliganism among other social vices made the commission introduce the program to address the menace of out of school children in Nigeria.
He lamented that Nigeria is still finding ways to reduce the menace of out of school children, thirty years after the launch of education for all.
He said, “We are launching BESDA to reduce out of school children, particularly in the north. This led us to this situation to tackle the challenge. This is why we have to partner with the World Bank. The out of school children has led to Boko Haram, cattle rustling, kidnapping – (they) are all indication of the menace of out of school children.
“It is sad that after 30 years of the launch of the education for all, we are still battling with the out of school children. I commended the Governor of the state for his efforts for the contributions”.