COVID-19: Nigeria gets $15m grant for safe school reopening

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COVID-19: Nigeria gets $15m grant for safe school reopening

The Federal Ministry of Education says Nigeria has received 15 million dollars response grant from the Global Partnership on Education (GPE) for COVID-19 safe school reopening across the country.

The Director, Basic and Secondary Education in the ministry, Hajia Binta Abdulkadir said this in Bauchi, at a Cluster Mobilisation and Sensitisation Meetings on COVID-19 Protocols, Surveillance and Safe School Reopening Readiness.

Abdulkadir was represented on the occasion by Mr Achede Owoicho, Deputy Director, Basic and Secondary Education and the Focal person for the GPE.

The workshop is initiated with the support of the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF).

Abdulkadir noted that through the grants, UNICEF had sent WASH and ICT materials to 16 states for preparation of digital lessons and online teaching.

She stated that the ministry had engaged with the GPE during the pandemic, and we were told to apply for a grant to support recovery in the education sector.

“At the end of our engagement with the GPE, a 15 million-dollar grant was given to Nigeria as part of the COVID-19 response grant for the country.

“UNICEF was chosen as the grant agent to receive the monies and disburse, since global players do not give their money directly to the government,’’ she said.

Abdulkadir noted that the ministry also ran a 100 million dollars Nigeria Partnership for Education project, also being funded by the GPE in Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Jigawa and Katsina.

She said the project was meant to improve access and quality of basic education in the five states with emphasis on girls’ education for five years (2016-2020).

“The target of the project was initially to bring 80,000 girls back to school via girls’ scholarship, but at the end, 417,200 girls were brought back to school in those five states.

“Also, over 43,000 schools got grants to make their schools conducive for learning while 15,000 teachers, who did not have teaching qualification of National Certificate in Education (NCE) were given scholarship.

“It is on that premise that the GPE deemed it fit for Nigeria to apply for the 15 million dollars COVID-19 response grant, after using the 100 million dollars judiciously.’’

Abdulkadir stated that the ministry was presently sending its members of  staff to the states for effective distribution and monitoring of the utilisation of the grant.

She, therefore, commended the GPE for approving Nigeria’s application for assistance for fund, to mitigate the loss of learning time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, Mrs Mairama Dikwa, Education Specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Office, said it was the collective responsibility of all, especially the state governments, to ensure strategies were put in place amidst emergency.

Dikwa called for the support of School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) on awareness of the dangers of not securing the schools, to make them safe for learning.

“There has been a negative impact on education as a result of COVID-19, thus disrupting learning.

“Inspite of  all these challenges, UNICEF with other stakeholders put in place measures to ensure learning continues, by working extensively on home-based programmes to ensure learning continues.

“In other words, to ensure safety in all our schools, it is the responsibility of all.

“The SBMC needs to support the government’s efforts to make sure safety in the school is enhanced,’’ she said.

Dikwa, however, highlighted UNICEF’s commitment to continued support to mobilise women in all states, to ensure safe school reopening.

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