By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The World Bank has disclosed that it has set aside the sum of $620 million as grant specifically meant to tackle the menace of out-of-school children and improve literacy in the country.
World Bank’s Senior Director for Education Global Practice, Dr. Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi said this when he led other top officials of the bank from Washington on a courtesy visit on Governor Akiwunmi Ambode at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Friday.
He said the bank would help the Lagos State Government and other states in the North to freely access the grants so as to bring those school aged children back to schools and secure a better life for them in the future
Chanduvi expressed readiness to provide necessary support to the Lagos State Government, especially in school infrastructure projects and other critical areas of the sector.
Chanduvi, who commended the state government for implementing sustainable policies which have brought significant improvements to the standard of education in the state, noted that the Lagos state government and Nigeria as a whole still have a lot to do to tackle the menace of out of school children, adding that the trend has been on the increase across the country.
He noted that government at all levels needed to pay particular attention to this menace in the interest of peace and security of the country in the future.
Describing the development of the Technical and Vocational Education by the state government as a right step in a right direction, The world Bank Chief Executive urged the state government to include more courses in its Technical and Vocational Education so as to encourage more youths to register for programmes of their choices rather than roaming about the streets.
According to him, most countries of the world that had attained greatness in economic viability prioritized skills acquisition and vocational education.
“We know Lagos State Government is doing well in its Technical and Vocational Education, but a lot still need to be done because of your large population, especially on the out of schools children roaming about and hawking during school hours.
“It is an area in which your government and of course Federal government must pay particular attention to in the overall inters t of peace and stability in your country. World Bank has set aside the sum of 620 million US dollars as grants and we will ensure that Lagos State Government and other Northern state governments take the advantage of this initiative to tackle this menace, ‘’ he stated.
He noted that the Lagos Eko Educational Projects and other World Bank Assisted programmes for the state were well implemented by the state government, disclosing that the bank has lined up a lot of other programmes to assist developing countries to develop their education sector.
Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Oluranti Adebule who received the delegation on behalf of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, commended the World Bank for its support and partnership in various educational reforms embarked upon by the state government, adding that those reforms were aimed at repositioning the education sector to meet the global best standard practices.
The deputy governor, who stated that the state government in recognition of the importance of the conducive learning environment, disclosed that the state Executive Council recently approved the sum of N10 billion for schools rehabilitation projects to develope infrastructure in government schools which she noted had improved the standard of education in the state
Adebule, while reaffirming government’s commitments to the development of Technical and Vocational education, said the state government had approved two additional Technical schools to be cited in Badagry and Ibeju-Lekki to increase the number from five to seven.
“We know there is a wide gap now and right from the inception of this administration, we have evaluated what we met on ground and embarked on a lot of re-engineering works so that we can bring the education sector in Lagos State at the same level with other civilized countries of the world.
“With your support, we will continue to see a lot of improvements in our educational system,’’ Adebule stated.