BY KHALID IDRIS DOYA, Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed yesterday said his administration had so far spent N8.5 billion on the implementation and execution of educational policies and programmes in the state.
The governor disclosed this during the distribution of materials to BESDA learning centres/UBEC instructional materials and commissioning of the 2019 UBEC/SUBEB intervention project held at Shadawanka Primary School, Army Barracks, Bauchi.
He said the educational intervention included the construction and renovation of 864 blocks of classrooms which translated into 2,413 classrooms across the 20 local government areas of the state.
According to him, as a reward for the outstanding performance of Bauchi State in the 2017/2018 and 2019 intervention projects, particularly in the payment of counterpart funds, UBEC in Abuja had forwarded the state’s Basic Education Board (SUBEB) 2020 and 2021 federal statutory allocation of UBEB matching grant to the tune of N1.6bn.
Senator Bala Mohammed said the state government had since provided its counterpart fund of the same amount and would continue to fulfil agreements signed with development partners.
He also said the state had procured chalk worth N81m for distribution to the local government education authorities with a view to equipping schools with basic writing materials.
He said; “It may interest you to note that this administration at the take-off of BESDA programme in the state provided teaching and learning materials worth over N53m and distributed to the beneficiary local government education authorities.”
He added that his administration had equally released N436m as part of its commitment in supporting USAID NEI-Plus programme in the state.
He said in all beneficiary local government authorities of NEI-Plus, the affected pupils can read and write.
The governor said the African Development Bank had intervened in the education sector in the state through the construction of three models schools to improve the quality of education and find solution to the problem of out of school children.
He assured people of the state that his administration was working to curb the problem of shortage of staff in the local government education authorities in order to improve the standard of education.
In a key note address, the deputy executive secretary (Technical), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Bala Zakari said the BESDA project was being supported by the World Bank with $611m in 17 focus states including Bauchi with the aim of increasing equitable access for out of school children and improving literacy in the benefiting states as well as strengthening accountability for results in basic education in Nigeria.
Zakari said the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) project was a result-based programme in which states could only access funds after achieving results as detailed by the programme.
The executive chairman, Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board, Surumbai Dahiru Bauchi, had in a welcome address said 941 learning centres in nine local government areas of the state were currently participating in the three-year BESDA project for the provision of basic education.