By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The World Bank on Friday said it was ready to assist the Lagos State Government in revamping the education sector and addressing the challenge of out-of-school children in the state.
Dr Jaime Saavedra , Senior Director, Education Global Practice, World Bank, made the remark during a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, at Alausa, Ikeja.
Saavedra said the World Bank had approved 620 million dollars to support Nigeria in addressing the problem of out-of-school children, to bring them to the classrooms.
“We have visited Kano and Kaduna States, Ogun, Abuja and today, we have come to Lagos; so, we can see for ourselves the many challenges Nigeria is facing, especially in the education sector.
“Though progress is being made, a lot needs to be done in terms of infrastructure and the rate of out-of-school children in the country.
“In the North, I saw a lot of Almajiris; I talked with them and I realised that there is hope and bright future for these children, if given the right opportunity.
“This can, in turn, secure the future of Nigeria,’’ he said.
Saavedra commended the state government for its efforts in the education sector and pledged the World Bank support, to achieve more progress in the state.
“We saw the ongoing rehabilitation of state schools, and we are here to pledge our commitment to continue to support the Federal and State Governments, to address the problems in the education sector.
“The 620 million dollars credit will help to bring out-of-school children into the classroom, improve literacy, and strengthen accountability for results in basic education.
“This will be done through incentivising results at the state level, and thereby reducing the number of out-of-school children by roughly one-third, by 2022, ” he said.
Adebule, in her response, said the growing population in the state contributed to the rate of out-of-school children.
She said the Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration had continued to invest massively in education to increase access, because it recognised the place of education in the development of the state.
“Gov. Ambode recognised that with education, desired change will be experienced in the state and the country at large,’’ she said.
Adebule, who also doubles as the Commissioner for Education, said that the just concluded Eko Project, a World Bank initiative, impacted and enhanced teaching and learning performance in the education system.
She appreciated the World Bank for their continual partnership to improve education in the state.
The deputy governor said that a unit had been established in the ministry of education to continue with the template of the Eko project.