Gombe receives grants to reduce out of school children rate

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

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Gombe state Government is to receive a $6 million Basic Education grant, aimed at reducing the rate of out-of-school children and improve literacy level in the state.

The grant is coming under the Better Education Service Delivery for All, BESDA, which is a World Bank/ Federal Government funded programme targeted at mopping up out-of-school children and getting them back to school.

Announcing the donation during an official visit to Gombe to assess its level of preparedness, so as to enable it key into the BESDA project in the state, the National Programme Coordinator of BESDA, Professor Gidado Tahir told Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, that the state was among 17 other states in Nigeria with the highest number of out- of- school Children to kick start the programme.

Professor Gidado said Gombe state would receive 3 million dollars as advance payment, which is half of the total project grant of 6 million dollars that would be paid to the state in two trenches, beginning from next week.

He also highlighted that the key areas of the project would include the number of children to be enrolled, teaching capacity, as well as supervisory and management roles.

Prof. Gidado urged the Governor to ensure adequate monitoring of the programme, which is to be implemented by the State Universal Basic Education Board and supervised by the State Ministry of Education, so to achieve the desired results.

He said Gombe state was the 3rd highest state with the out-of-school-children rate.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya commended the Buhari-led administration for including Gombe State among the participating states, while describing the World Bank assisted programme as timely.

He said his administration had resolved to prioritise basic education.

The Governor also vowed to address the anomalies associated with the backward integration of basic education in the state, by improving the rating of Gombe state in the index of performance in the National Examination Council and West African Examination Council so as to catch up with other states in the country.

“We must change the narrative through a backward integration of basic education and no going back in this resolve” Governor Yahaya said.

He reiterated his commitment in addressing the problem of out- of-school children, describing it as alarming, but believed that the project would be successfully implemented in the state, because of the renowned scholars who were running the affairs of the State Universal Basic Education Board.

In the meantime, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Babaji Babadidi, appreciated the foresight of Governor Yahaya for including teacher-training as part of his areas of focus, while thanking him for the opportunity to serve the state.

Nnenna.O