Sokoto State Government will ensure access to quality education for a total of 1.7m primary school and out of school children under the new Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI+) policy.
To be funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the policy will reach 1.6million primary school children in grades One to Three, along with 500,000 out of school children and youths attending 11,000 non-formal learning centres.
Speaking at the launching of the project in Sokoto Tuesday, USAID’s Mission Director for Nigeria, Mr. Michael Harvey, said the initiative will use the ‘whole child, whole teacher, whole school and whole system approach which addresses critical supply and demand factors that affect learning, teaching, management, parental participation and responsiveness to parental needs.’
He said in practical terms, the initiative will improve reading skills for more two million school-aged children and youth. “It will also train and equip 45,000 teachers and learning facilitators who can reach children in schools and non-formal learning centres,” he added.
While announcing that Bauchi, and another yet-to-be named state will also benefit from the project, Harvey said the commitment shown by the political leadership in Sokoto to address the challenges of education will have far reaching benefits.
In his remarks, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said his administration is determined to ensure that all children get access to quality education in the state.
He said government has resolved to improve manpower needs of the education sector and that only competent hands will be allowed to implement policies in the sector.
Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, said said it has become imperative for members of the society to change their orientation towards education.
He said Sokoto Caliphate was founded on ideals knowledge. He said now that the state government has shown enough commitment to education, “we owe ourselves a duty to support it.”
“Islam abhors begging and hawking. The place of education is Islam cannot be compared to anything. We cannot allow our children to be roaming the streets while their counterparts elsewhere attend classes,” he added.