The Federal Govt has secured N220 billion loan from the World Bank to tackle the challenges of out-of-school children and strengthen basic education in 17 states.
Minister of State for Education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who broke the news at the weekend, listed the 13 states in the Northwest and Northeast, Niger, Oyo, Ebonyi and Rivers as the benefitting states.
He said the facility will be used for the implementation of the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme in the identified states.
In a statement by the ministry’s Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Bem Gong, the minister said the BESDA programme has an objective to increase equitable access for out-of-school children, improve literacy and strengthen accountability at the basic education level.
On how the loans will be paid back: Gong said: “The money is going to be shared based on the endemic nature of the out-of-school children in the states. It varies from state to state
“There are requirements and processes to be taken. That is being done. The Federal Government has already completed the processes that need to be done at the federal level for that money to be released to the Federal government.
“States have their own processes also to fulfill before they can access the money. For the states, it is a grant. To the federal government it is a credit facility. The states are going to pay back that money (to the federal government) at no interest. The federal government will in turn pay an administrative cost to the World Bank.”
Nwajiuba spoke at the launch of the programme in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.
Explaining that the states were picked based on the prevalence of out-of-school kids in them; the minister said the Federal Government began the implementation of the BESDA programme in 2018 at the federal level.
According to him, the key activities at the federal level to kick-start the implementation of the programme in the states have been completed.
Nwajiuba noted that the states will kick-off the implementation in line with specific steps and guidelines provided under the project.
He said Adamawa State has successfully commenced the implementation process of the BESDA project.
According to him, taking the out-of-school children off the streets “is not only a moral and legal obligation but also a productive investment that will guarantee the future of our children as enshrined in the Child Rights Act of 2003.”
Adamawa Governor Ahmadu Fintiri commended the efforts of the federal government for bringing the BESDA programme to the state.
Fintiri disclosed that he directed the implementation of the programme two months after assumption of office to show the enthusiasm of the state.
The governor said that a strong implementation team, including traditional and religious leaders in all the local government areas, had been put in place to ensure the success of the programme.
According to the governor, about 50, 000 children have already been taken off the streets in the state.
He said: “The training of teachers otherwise known as facilitators for the program has already been completed. Efforts are on to integrate the Amajiri and Tsangaya systems into the BESDA program.”
He added that special consideration and arrangements will be made in the programme for the girl-child.