By Fred Ezeh Abuja
The Board of Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $98 million multi-year financial facility program for the promotion of bilingual education in Nigeria.
The Head of Public Relations and Protocol of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Mr. David Apeh, in a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja, explained that the aim of the project was to contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic condition of Nigeria. , ensuring inclusive education and promoting bilingual education.
He listed the nine beneficiary states of the project as; Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Osun.
Apeh added that the main components of the project were to create access to basic education, improve quality and build the management capacity of school administrators.
He revealed that a total of 30 bilingual boarding schools were to be built in the nine states, which would help boost enrollment and reduce Out-of-School Child Syndrome (OOSC) as well as expose learners to knowledge of the information and communication technologies (ICT).
“Another important feature of this project is the integrated Awqaf and Istisnaa to provide real estate activities for sustainable income for the program.
“The project is coordinated at the national level by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the National Coordinating Unit (NCU) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Finance,” said he declared.
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 office furniture and equipment have been procured for the nine participating States, adding that the process of civil works has just started.
He said a stakeholder meeting was held recently to brief the States on the level of implementation of the project with the nine States represented by their Finance Commissioners, Chairpersons of SUBEB, Heads of Project Management Units (UGP) and the Arab and Islamic education agencies of Tsangaya.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary (Technical), Prof. Bala Zakari, also included members of the management of UBEC as well as representatives of the Federal Ministries of Education, Finance and the IDB.
Bobboyi, in his remarks, informed the state governments that the project was a loan that must be repaid, hence the need to ensure its effective implementation and careful management.
States expressed their willingness to take ownership of the projects after their completion, while participants were expected to brief their respective state governors.