Abuja - The Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, said on Thursday that the Federal Government spent N9 billion on the procurement of books for basic education and N5 billion on teacher capacity building yearly.
Speaking during the 2013 Ministerial Platform to commemorate the Mid-Term Anniversary of President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Wike said the investment was to make basic education more effective, functional, relevant and of international standards.
He also said that the expenditure was a redemption of the electoral promises made by the present administration to provide basic education opportunities to all Nigerian children of school age.
The minister explained that though the provision of basic education was the constitutional responsibility of the states and local government councils, the Federal Government, through UBEC, was supporting the sub-sector to reposition it.
Wike, however, said that some states were not forthcoming on funding basic education as reflected in their average to non-performance score.
He, therefore, enjoined the states to access their funds for the development of basic education.
On capacity building for teachers, he said that 103 Junior Secondary School principals and head teachers were trained to enhance their instructional leadership skills for quality educational delivery.
He further said that training workshop on school leadership and management for principals and head teachers in collaboration with Commonwealth of Learning and teacher capacity development programmes were conducted by National Teachers' Institute (NTI), UBEC and the ministry.
He said that 28,000 head teachers from the six geopolitical zones were also trained on community relations.
According to the minister, government is committed to ensuring that children have access to schools, hence the introduction of the integrated Almajiri system, to complement existing basic education schools in the country.
Out of an estimated 124 Almajiri schools slated for construction nationwide, 85 have already been completed and some are in use, while the 39 under construction were at about 80 per cent completion level, he said.
Wike noted that four out of the 13 girl-child education centres had also been completed, while nine were at various stages of completion.
He said these facilities were intended to increase basic education access for girls in areas where the culture or religion did not encourage boys and girls to attend the same schools.
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), he said, also disbursed about N409 million as special education funds to 20 states this year, to provide infrastructure, instructional materials and learning aids to children with special needs.
He said that the national implementation committee on out-of-school boys had been set up and was currently conducting a needs assessment designed to integrate basic education with technical, vocational and educational skills training in the affected states.
The ministry, according to him, also sought bilateral cooperation with The Czech Republic in the development of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) programme for out of school boys between the ages of ages 12 and 18 in Nigeria.
He said that other bilateral cooperation agreements with countries such as China, Korea and Japan, had resulted in the creation of more access to basic education through the construction of classrooms and schools in various states.
The minister noted that a key infrastructure in improving the quality of education was the provision libraries adequately stocked with relevant educational resources, to enhance student learning and teacher instructional delivery.