EU To Invest €5.4m On Teachers’ Training …Reiterates Commitment To Quality Education In Northwest Nigeria

By Bukar Bolori

The European Union (EU) has announced the investment of an additional €5.4 million euros in building the capacity of teachers in the Northwest.

This is in line with its commitment of reducing the high number of out of school children in the region by improving access to quality education and empowering youths in the region.

EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen made the disclosure in Abuja at the official launch of the €4O million intervention programme on education and youth empowerment in North Western Nigeria through the Global Gateway initiative.

She disclosed that the additional fund was to ensure teachers get the necessary and upgraded skills and learning needed to nurture students armed with requisite knowledge to become an army of solutions to the many challenges confronting Nigeria and the continent in general.

The EU Commissioner said: “Actually, this component is complemented by a €5.4 million euros separate programme that we signed today, which is dedicated to teachers for aiming to build their resilience and capacity in challenging environments. We have to remember that there is no education without teachers and that’s why we also have to invest in teacher training.

“The third objective of our programme is really that it empowers youth with the skills they need, providing vocational education as promoting behavioral change campaigns to challenge harmful social norms and empower girls.

Urpilainen also added that the European Union was set to provide vocational education and training for Nigerian youths in order to equip them with the necessary skills required to excel in the labour market.

She said: “This ambitious programme launched today has been designed with Nigerian authorities to ensure the ownership and an adequate response to the local needs. The EU is not only targeting the youth through this specific programme, it is also bringing the youth to the driving seat and this is why as the EU, we set up the Youth Sounding Board, also here in Nigeria, as well as in many countries to make sure that what we do is for the youth but also by the youth.

“We have to include young people in the decision making, we have to create spaces and structures where young people feel that they are visible and they watch this and this is precisely what the European Union is doing.”

Urpilainen while noting that Nigeria was not only the economic powerhouse on the continent and the most populous country in Africa, but the country was also a strategic partner of the EU in the West region, described education as the most transformative sector with ability to change the fortunes of a country.

She explained that the programme would focus on lifting out of school children off the streets to get the required education, especially girls through various components aimed at achieving one objective; access to quality education and youth empowerment.

She said: “Education is the most transformative sector in which we can invest and it is the cornerstone for creating resilient societies and finding solutions to the biggest challenges of our time.

“So the EU investment on access, skills and quality education and youth empowerment in Northwestern Nigeria brings actually all these different components together. It will be deployed in the Northwest Nigeria.

“The programme which we are launching today supports access to education for out of school children with a specific focus on bringing and keeping girls in schools. It also includes direct assistance to families cash, cash, transfers, social protection, income generation, gifts and indirect assistance through agricultural practices. I think it’s important that we are able to provide access to education each and every child in Nigeria so no one is left behind.

“Another talk and overall objective of our programme is that it really promotes validated teaching and learning in targeted schools. So it will support child centred medical, sexual reproductive health racial gender equality training and support community based and state level capacities to deliver on education.”

Speaking on behalf of the Northwestern states, Governor of Jigawa State, Umar Namadi while appreciating the EU for helping the region tackle the menace of out of school children, said they were committed to making education in their respective states a priority and have decided to invest heavily in the sector.

He said: “The Northwestern states have the highest population in the country, we are more disadvantaged when it comes to education so this support is coming at the right time.

“For each of us education is a priority and we have decided collectively and individually to invest in education and we are ready to change the narrative in next four years.

“This support has come at the right time and I assure you that this support will go a long way in helping us to revamp education in our various states. This intervention we will utilize in the best way possible and I assure you that the outcomes would be something commendable to improve our educational system and other aspects of social development.”

On his part, Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, warned that any attempt to downplay education would cost the country a fortune in terms of welfare and security.

” If our youths are not properly catered for, trained and empowered, we are toying with the future of the country. Not catering for them will allow poverty to grow, insecurity to foster.”

Mamman who urged state governors to focus on prioritising education and youth empowerment, disclosed that the soon to be released education sector roadmap covers same objectives of the European Union in revamping the sector.

“Our focus is shifting to basic education, out of school children, adolescent girls who needs to be trained and empowered.

“Our government is ready to commit 25% of the budget on education, all the President needs according to him is policies that will justify that budget and that is what we are working on.”

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