A Non-Governmental Organisation (NAN), Connected Development (CODE) on Tuesday commended the Kaduna State Government for improving infrastructure including Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in primary schools.
The Organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Malam Hamzat Lawal gave the commendation when the organisation visited the Commissioner of Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi in his office in Kaduna.
Lawal, represented by Mr Kinsley Agu, the Programme Associate, said that CODE had in July 2017, began a three-year tracking of Universal Basic Education projects in the state with support from MacArthur Foundation.
He said that the project, implemented in four Local Government Areas of the state revealed that the dilapidated state of classrooms and school environments were preventing children from attending schools.
According to him, WASH facilities and learning aids that can enhance study, improve attendance, and ensure more children, especially girls attend school are also inadequate.
“We submitted our findings to the government with recommendations and thereafter, conducted impact assessment at the end of the project.
“The assessment report indicates that many schools in the project communities that had poor infrastructure were renovated in comparison to the deplorable state of schools before 2017.
“These improvements can be seen in the construction and renovation of classrooms, as well as WASH and ICT facilities, including improvement in human resources, teachers, security guards and other utility staff in comparison to 2017.
“These among other factors results to increased enrolment in schools, thereby, addressing the problem of out of school children. This is commendable,” he said.
While presenting the Impact Assessment Report of the UBE spending, Lawal said that MacArthur Foundation had extended its support to the NGO for another three years to track constituency projects.
He explained that the constituency projects would be tracked under a project tagged, “Deepening Citizens’ Interest in Government Spending and Addressing Accompanying Corrupt Practices (DeSPAAC)”.
He said that the project would be implemented across the three Senatorial Zones of the state with support from McArthur Foundation between 2021 and 2023.
The CEO, who equally visited the Executive Chairman of Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board, commended the board for opening spaces for citizens to engage in the implementation of basic education projects.
He said that tracking of the UBE projects was possible because of the open poor policy of the board in line with the state’s Open Government Partnership (OGP).
“Due to the political will of Gov. Nasir El-Rufai through the OGP, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), media, citizens and the government meet to define the kind of infrastructure and progresses needed in basic schools,” said.
The education commissioner thanked CODE for the support and pledged more collaboration to improve the education sector.
According to him, the state government is investing the largest chunk of its annual budget on the education sector.
Similarly, the SUBEB Chairman, Mr Tijjani Abdullahi thanked CODE for being part of the board’s projects monitoring mechanism.
Abdullahi said that the state government would soon embark on integrating primary and the junior secondary schools in one space for effective implementation of the 12-year basic education structure in the state.
He said that the government spends about N2.2 billion monthly on salaries of 38,000 primary school teachers in 4,260 primary schools in the state, more than what was being expended on infrastructure.
“I am, therefore, appealing to CODE, other CSOs, citizens, including members of the State House of Assembly to pay close attention not only on school infrastructure, but also the attitude and commitment of teachers. (NAN)