UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is to spend £36 million (about N9 billion) to train Nigerian teachers within the next six years.
DFID’s Senior Education Adviser, Barbara Payne, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja when she visited the Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’I.
“DFID is currently committing the sum of N45.2 billion to education intervention programmes across Nigeria to boost learning outcomes by 2014.
“The agency is also working to commit another 36 million pounds on teachers’ development project between 2012 and 2018,” she said.
Ms. Payne said that 66,000 teachers would benefit from the first phase of the training programme aimed at boosting the human capacity of Nigeria’s education sector.
She said that the British Government is also spending about £186 million pounds (about N48 billion) on various programmes in the country’s education sector.
She, nonetheless, called on the Federal Government to ensure the effective utilisation of the intervention funds, hinting that the worsening global financial crisis might force Britain to review its funding policy.
Besides, Ms. Payne said that the DFID is planning to adopt a new approach for its intervention programme in Lagos State where more than 60 per cent of pupils in the state are enrolled in unregulated private schools.
“More than 60 per cent of Lagos schools are private, low-cost schools that are unrecognised and unregulated.
“DFID has carried out extensive research under the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) into these schools and it is now planning a new ‘market’ approach to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in all schools in Lagos.
“DFID’s current commitment within the agreed DFID/Nigeria Operational Plan 2010-2014 through projects amounting to 185 million pounds (about N46.2 billion), aims at getting 800,000 children (600,000 of whom will be girls) into school, while accessing improved learning outcomes by 2014,’’ she said.
Ms. Payne said that the agency’s Teacher Development Project (TDP), which would run from 2012 to 2018, was designed to address both pre-service and in-service training.
She said that the project would provide primary and junior secondary school teachers with intensive training in English, Mathematics as well as Science and Technology to ensure that learning outcomes were significantly improved.
Responding, Mrs. Rufa’i assured the DFID official that the Federal Government would regularly interact with the DFID to ensure its continuous assistance in the education sector.
The minister urged other donor agencies to emulate the DFID by supporting efforts to develop Nigeria’s education sector, adding that the development of the sector was vital to the development of other sectors.