By Godfrey AKON
Nigeria has secured the approval of the Board of Executive Directors of Islamic Development Bank, IsDB, for a Multi-year Financial Facility Programme worth $98 million for the promotion of Bilingual Education in the country.
The loan, according to the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, was applied for the period of 2012-2015, but only recently approved by the bank.
UBEC, in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr David Apeh, said the aim of the project was to contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic condition of Nigeria, ensure inclusive education and promote bilingual education.
According to Apeh, nine states are listed as beneficiaries of the project, namely: Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Osun.
He added that the major components of the project were to create access to basic education, improve quality and enhance the management capacity of school administrators.
He further noted that in all, 30 Bilingual Education Boarding Schools are to be constructed in the 9 States, which would help boost enrolment and reduce the out-of-school-children syndrome as well as expose learners to the knowledge of Information and Communications Technology, ICT.
“Another important feature of this project is the Awqaf and Istisnaa imbedded to provide real estate business for sustainable income for the programme.
“The Project is being coordinated at the National level by Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), National Coordinating Unit (NCU) with supervision by Federal Ministry of Education and Federal Ministry of Finance,” he said.
The UBEC spokesperson indicated that the National Coordinating Unit has already engaged consultants to design, review and supervise the civil works of the projects and has also engaged the services of a Monitoring and Evaluation consultant.
He further noted that the office furniture and equipment have been procured for the 9 participating States, adding the process of the civil work has just commenced.
He said a stakeholders meeting was organized to brief the States on the level of the project implementation with the 9 states represented by their Commissioners of Finance, SUBEB Chairmen, Heads of Project Management Units, PMUs, and Tsangaya Arabic and Islamic Education Agencies.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Executive Secretary, UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Technical, Prof. Bala Zakari, also had in attendance, members of UBEC management as well as the representatives of the Federal Ministries of Education, Finance and IsDB.
Bobboyi in his remark, informed the State Governments that the project was a loan that has to be repaid hence, the need to ensure its effective implementation and prudent management.
The States expressed their readiness to take ownership of the Projects after completion while the participants were expected to brief their respective State Governors.