By Harrison Edeh

Catriona Laing – High Commissioner to Nigeria PHOTO: Twitter

THE British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing, on Tuesday, said the Federal Government would benefit from a $105 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education.

The grant is expected to close the rising number of out-of-school children in the country, while also boosting several safe school initiatives of the Federal Government amid rising kidnappings and banditry in most Northern parts of the country.

The high commissioner, in a monitored television programme on Arise Television in Abuja, said the British government alongside participating countries had set a target of providing educational access to 175 million out-of-school children mainly from the developing countries.

“We are targeting to do education in a different way, by providing access and lifting millions up to 80 million out of poverty.”

She explained that investments in education could add about $64 billion to the Nigerian economy, and reduce maternal and infant mortality in the country.

“We’re delighted that the Nigerian delegation is headed by the person of the president himself, alongside senior government officials such as the minister of education, and foreign affairs.

It would be noted that the Global Partnership for Education is the latest multilateral fund in education for developing countries.

“Because it’s coming from multi-lateral contributions, philanthropists also contribute their quota to the initiative to expand the initiative,” she said.

Nigeria has been a key beneficiary of this partnership for more than 10 years.

“For instance, in some Northern states – Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto – we see an increase in enrollment from 46 per cent to 60 per cent, in addition to delivering 20,000 female teachers specifically to increase college girls access to education.”

She explained that education access targeting the girl child had been a major priority for the United Kingdom for years.

“For girls who are educated, they would grow the economy and lessen concerns of maternal and child mortality with better exposure and capacity,” she further said.

Analysts have urged the Nigerian authorities to ensure they position themselves to harvest the benefits of the summit and ensure education is lifted from the current challenge facing it.

“Nigeria needed to put forth its best stakeholders to engage appropriately at this summit while ensuring Nigeria explore the needed advantages,” said a development analyst Mary Ikokwu.

Nigeria is not having it very smooth in education as the entire ecosystem is in need of urgent aid and intervention.

Nigerian schools, mostly in the Northern part of the country, face kidnapping and banditry. The Kaduna State government recently closed some schools in the state.

Analysts say the country must be strategic in the engagement at the summit to reap its full benefits.

“We must be strategic and engage wisely for us to harvest the benefits of this summit. It must be a win-win situation for the educational development in the country,” Ikokwu said.

Nigeria contributed 6.3 per cent of its 2021 national budget to the Federal Ministry of Education. A sum of N742.5 billion out of the total N11.7 trillion budget was budgeted for the ministry, out of which N615.1 billion was proposed for recurrent expenditure covering personnel and overhead costs, while N127.3 billion was devoted to capital expenditure.

  • ICIR