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11 months after, FG to begin alternate school programme

By Laraba MUREY

It is finally good news for out-of-school children in Nigeria as the federal government has said it will commence implementation of Alternate School Programme, ASP, this December, 2021.

Recall that on January 26, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated an 18-member Presidential Steering Committee on ASP headed by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

In April, additional eight members was constituted as Technical Working Group on the project.

The National Coordinator for National Social Investment program, NSIP, Dr. Umar Bindr, who is also chairman of TWG, in an exclusive telephone interview with our correspondent, said the plan is that by the third week of December or January latest, the ASP should begin.

Bindr explained that TWG has submitted its concept note to the National Steering Committee and that it has been approved, while budget consideration was on.

He explained that, “The design of the ASP is to take education to the children, not the children to school because we have tried these children to school many times and it has not worked as well as we desire.

“We will continue expanding it to the six geographical zones to maybe one sport per state and we will go down to one spot per local government that will continue. the reason is for the six pilot zones to help us understand where to make improvements.

“Once we create this shade. it is important to note that the teachers are already being trained under our Npower programme.

“We have the N-Teach who are graduates teaching in primary schools. Some of these people will now teach at the spots and will teach four courses, 30 minutes every day.

“One course is arithmetic just to get the students to understand counting, the second course is English just to encourage young children to read and write and communicate properly.

“The third course is moral where they will teach about the dangers of taking hard drugs, violence towards people and so on and so forth and then the fourth course is skill acquisition. Some of the children will be taught on how to repair mobile phones, mold bricks and interlocking blocks and more. We have all these planned.

“The third aspect is that our own school feeding program will feed the children two meals per day so they will have a meal as they are attending school and another meal in the evening.”

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