By Philip Yatai
UNICEF says it is mobilising resources to improve access to quality education by poor and vulnerable children in Kaduna State.
UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms Cristian Munduate, stated this in Kaduna on Sunday during the annual UNICEF Access Bank Charity Shield Polo Tournament, at Fifth Chukker Country Polo Club.
Munduate, who was represented by UNICEF Chief of Operations, Mr Opiyo Nixon, noted that education was very important to the development of a child.
She said that the resources were being mobilised in partnership with Access Bank Group and Fifth Chukker Polo Country Club, Kaduna, through the annual Polo Tournament.
She explained that the 2023 tournament was part of a continued partnership to increase access to quality education by orphans and vulnerable children in Kaduna State.
This, she said, would give the children a chance for a better and quality life in the future.
According to her, the efforts are in line with SDGs 4 which seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
“At this time, we are joining hands with other partners – Fifth Chukker, Access Bank Group, and other participants to raise resources that will go into advancing access to education.
“The funds will be invested in improving the quality of teaching but more importantly, in ensuring that each child has the opportunity to access education to advance in life.
“The funds that will be realised will be ploughed back into already established schools to fill existing gaps.”
She identified some of the gaps to include the number of teachers needed to be increased to meet the 40 pupil-teacher ratio per class, as well as the need to improve libraries and computer laboratories.
The country representative added that the school management was looking into expanding additional classrooms following the high number of demands for enrolment into the schools.
She commended the partners for the remarkable efforts and commitments towards improving the learning environment through renovations, equipping and provision of infrastructure and upgrading of primary schools.
She, however, said that in spite of the laudable achievements so far, there was still a need for continued provision of opportunities and amenities to encourage the learning and mental development of children.
“This will leave no child behind in the journey towards meeting SDG 4,” he said.
She called on partners to come and pool resources together and ensure that every child within the community had access to education facilities that provided quality education.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the partnership, which began in 2006, is in line with UNICEF’s mandate of advocating for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.
The partnership, which targets children and families in greatest need, has been providing support to accelerate access to quality education by disadvantaged children, especially Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
Under the partnership, two schools – LEA Maraban Jos, in Igabi Local Government Area (LGA) and LEA Kakau, in Chikun LGA were adopted and rebuilt – to sustain the provision of quality education to OVC.
The schools’ infrastructure were upgraded, including the provision of toilets, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
These were implemented in collaboration with the Kaduna State Ministry of Education, Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board and Kaduna State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency. (NAN)