By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The European Union (EU) will assist Borno State with €20 million, approximately N8 billion, to revamp its educational sector.
The state, the worst affected by Boko Haram crisis, had it education crippled for about two years as both primary and secondary schools were closed even as scores of teachers were slaughtered by the terrorist group.
The EU, which is supporting the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and Plan International to execute the projects in the troubled state, said at the launch of new programme of support to education in Borno State on Friday in Maiduguri, that over 150,000 children and 2,500 teachers will directly benefit from two projects it is funding in the state.
The EU said the projects were aimed at providing immediate education services and strengthening the education system in Borno State.
It said the projects with which €20 million had already been earmarked for will expand and deepen the already extensive EU humanitarian and development assistance to the many victims of violence and displacement in Nigeria’s North East while addressing some of the underlying drivers of violent extremism in Nigeria.
A statement released by EU on Friday said: “This intervention has been designed to build on the EU’s Education in Emergencies support to North East Nigeria, but go beyond provision of immediate services to strengthen service quality and delivery, to help increase learning outcomes for girls and boys in the longer term.”
The EU’s Head of Cooperation was quoted to have said: “Education is crucial for both the protection and healthy development of girls and boys affected by crises. For girls, education reduces maternal and child mortality, and an educated mother is more likely to have educated children.”
He said proven international partners will execute the projects over a period of three years.
The statement said: “The projects will target primary, secondary and Tsangaya schools, where classrooms will be rehabilitated and furniture provided; water points will be installed or repaired, and latrine cubicles constructed. Children will receive vouchers for learning kits, girls and young women will receive dignity kits to manage menstruation, and young people will receive vouchers for business start-up kits.
“Teaching kits, textbooks will be provided and over 900 primary and secondary teachers will be trained, the majority of whom will be employed by Government. 36 schools will establish kitchen gardens and psycho-social resources will be brought into schools with referral for children with trauma. School Based Management Committee (SBMCs) will be refreshed, retrained and work with communities to engage in education advocacy.”
Meanwhile, the governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara, has said accountability will be crucial in the reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in the state.
He said the state would continue to ensure that the funds received to build projects are well spent and do not get into the pocket of some corrupt officers.