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FG set to commit 25% of budget to education

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By Usman Oladimeji

Additional funding was pledged by the EU to enhance teachers skills.

The European Union has pledged to invest an additional €5.4m in building the capacity of teachers in Nigeria North-West region. This initiative aligns with its commitment to reduce the region’s alarmingly high rate of out-of-school children through enhanced access to quality education and youth empowerment. EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen made this known at the official launch of the €4Om intervention campaign on education and youth empowerment in North-Western Nigeria through the Global Gateway initiative in Abuja,

She claims that the additional funding was allocated so that teachers can get the skills and knowledge they need to help their students become productive citizens who can help solve the problems that plague Nigeria and Africa as a whole. In her words: “We also have to invest in teachers training because there is no education without them.” The third goal of the initiative is to equip youths with the required skills by encouraging behavioural changes campaigns and offering vocational education in an effort to combat detrimental social norms and empower girls.

EU is also focused on elevating youths to the forefront.

Urpilainen further stated that the EU was also committed to offering vocational education and training for Nigerian youths so that they would be better prepared to succeed in the labour market. She explained that the ambitious programme being launched was designed in collaboration with Nigerian authorities in order to guarantee ownership and an appropriate response to local needs. The EU is not only focusing on youths with this initiative, but also elevating them to the forefront, as evidenced by the establishment of the Youth Sounding Board in Nigeria and other countries.

To her, Nigeria is not only the most populous country in Africa and the economic powerhouse of the continent, but also a key strategic partner of the European Union in the Western region. Education is regarded as the most transformative sector with the capacity to impact the progressive trajectory of a country. Moreover, the program’s primary goal is to get school children off the streets, especially girls, back into the education system through a variety of strategies that all work towards the same end, which is providing access to quality education and youth empowerment.

Governors have decided to invest hugely in education.

Another goal of the program is to increase the prevalence of certified teaching and learning in targeted schools. It will help strengthen community-based and state-level capacities to deliver on education, as well as child-centered medical care, sexual reproductive health education, racial and gender equality training, and more. Jigawa State Governor Umar Namadi released a statement on behalf of the northwestern states thanking the EU for its aid in combating the problem of out-of-school children. He added that governors have decided to invest hugely in education because it is a top concern in their various states.

He noted that the programme is particularly timely given that the north-west states have the highest population density and educational disadvantages in the whole country. The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, who was cited as well in the statement, said that diminishing the importance of education will have devastating consequences for the country’s welfare and security. “We are taking risks with the future of our country if we do not provide, train and empower the youths. If we do not provide for them, poverty and insecurity will flourish.”

Upcoming education sector roadmap shares the same goals as the EU.

Mamman, who has called on governors to make education and youth empowerment top priorities, has said that the upcoming education sector roadmap shares the same goals as the European Union in terms of reforming the sector. He stated that the emphasis is now being placed on basic education, out-of-school children and to teenage girls who need to be trained and empowered. As the government is prepared to allocate 25% of the budget to education; all the President needs, in his view, are measures that will justify that spending and are being worked on.

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