Akin Akande, Abuja
The Federal Government on Friday launched the State Education Programme Investment Project (SEPIP) with only Ekiti, Anambra and Bauchi as the only participating states.
The project, which is supported by the World Bank with a sum of $150million, is expected to help improve quality of education in those states, enhance equitable access and efficiency in their education sector.
According to the World Bank Country Director (CD) in Nigeria Dr. Saleh El-Arnaout, the project is also expected to address major concerns in Nigeria’s basic education sector.
He said the criteria, which led to the selection of the three states included: track record in executing reforms, past experience at implementing World Bank projects and respect for the geo-political balance of Nigeria.
The states were also considered for their attitude as regards fiscal responsibility.
El-Arnaout added that the effectiveness of the funds would be assessed in the implementation of compulsory basic education.
The Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, in his address disclosed the major aims of SEPIP include providing equitable access and efficiency in the education system of the participating states.
The decision to prioritize three states, he said, was taken based on lessons of implementation experience in Nigeria, emphasising enhanced focus on fewer states with sizeable funds for reforms that will be result oriented.
“It will focus more attention to retention of girls and boys in Anambra, correct gender imbalance among teachers, ensure women representation in the SBMC’s,” he said.
Wike added that the project would support needs based teachers deployment, school based management, accountability and measurement of student learning in the three states.
“The activities and performances of SBMCs themselves are to be monitored by the local communities via community reviews which will cover SBMC constitution, inclusive decision making process and implementation of school improvement plans, fund receipt and use, and information disclosure,” the minister said.