The Oyo State government has expressed its readiness to use ‘the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) take-off grant to educate about 170, 536 out-of-school children in the 33 local government areas of the State and ensure their retention in schools.
The State Governor, Seyi Makinde gave the assurance at the end of a two-day interactive session held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The focus of the interactive session, which had in attendance various education stakeholders, was on how to implement the World Bank-assisted, Better Education Service Delivery for All in the State.
Governor Makinde resolved to effectively take all out-of-school children off the streets and put them in public schools and the beneficiaries would also include hawkers and almajiris in different parts of the State.
The Oyo State government was recently declared a beneficiary of the $6million BESDA World Bank grant, with the initial release of $3 Million to kick off the programme in Ona-ara, Kajola, Surulere, Saki West, Akinyele, Olorunsogo, Iseyin, Saki East, Oyo West, Ogbomosho South, Ogbomosho North and Iwajowa local government areas.
Other Local Government slated to also benefit from the fund include, Ogo-Oluwa, Ibadan South East, Oriire, Oluyole, Afijio, Oyo West, Ibadan South East, Egbeda, Orelope, Ibarapa Central and Ibadan North East.
Expressing displeasure on the outrageous number of out-of-school children in the State, the Governor said; ”he would ensure that a total of 62,733 hawkers were taken back to schools, while 107,803 almajiris would be taken off the streets in the Oke-Ogun region of the State through the initiative.”
According to him, the SUBEB Board has embarked on strategies that would ensure all out-of-school-children are returned to schools before year 2022.
The Governor expressed strong belief that despite all the hiccups, the essence of BESDA, which is to effectively take all out-of-school children off the streets and draw them back to schools, would be accomplished in Oyo state.
Governor Makinde also promised that the State government would pay undivided attention to reduction in the number of out-of-school children, improve their literacy level and strengthen the education system in the State.
The Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Nureni Adeniran represented the Governor at the event.
The Head, Coordination Support Team, BESDA, Mallam Iro Umar, expressed optimism that Oyo State has a good team to implement the project.
He added that State, through the SUBEB, has met necessary parameters and has what it takes to drive the programme to a fruitful end.