By Philip Yatai
The World Bank, Adolescent Girls Initiative and Empowerment (AGILE), is to construct 90 Junior Secondary Schools (JSS), 69 Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) and renovate 69 others in Kaduna State.
AGILE Project Coordinator in the state, Mr Habibu Alhassan, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) In Kaduna on Wednesday.
Alhassan explained that the five-year project was designed to ensure that the girl child, aged 10 to 20 years was enrolled, retained, and supported to complete senior secondary school education.
He said that the construction of the new schools and the renovations of existing ones was to create additional learning space and make available spaces conducive and comfortable for the girl child to learn.
He added that the project would also provide a form of scholarship to support girls that were prevented from attending schools due to hawking and other commercial activities at home.
This, according to him, will enable the parents to allow such girls to enroll in school, remain in school, complete secondary school education, and become useful to their self, their family, and their community.
He also said that the project would equally empower the girl child with livelihood and life skills to enable her live well in the society.
He said that although the goal was to improve secondary education opportunities among girls, the boy child would equally benefit from the project.
“We are still at the preparatory stage. The Work Plan has been developed and undergoing review, while the Project Implementation Manual is being developed by the National Head Office.
“Project Appraisal and other relevant documents had also been developed.
“We have just finished going round the three Senatorial Zones of the state to get the buy-in of critical stakeholders and domesticate the National School-Based Management Committees Manual.
The project coordinator said that the state government has fulfilled all required conditions to participate in the project.
“One of the conditions was the state government’s commitment to recruit teachers that will teach in the newly constructed schools.
“You may be aware that the state government is currently concluding recruitment exercise of 7,600 qualified secondary school teachers, more than the about 2,000 teachers required by the AGILE project.
“The state government has also committed to paying any compensation that may arise due to expansion of school spaces and has also provided office space for the Project implementation Unit.
“Gov. Nasir el-Rufa’i has also allocated N47 million in the 2021 Budget to ensure smooth take-off of the project,” he added.
NAN reports that the 500 million dollar’s project (N190 billion at N380 to a dollar) will support access to secondary education and empowerment for adolescent girls in seven states namely Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Plateau and Ekiti.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri had in 2020 explained that the AGILE project would use secondary school as a platform to empower girls through education, life skills, health, and education.
Chaudhuri added that other areas would include nutrition, reproductive health, gender-based violence awareness and prevention, negotiations skills, self-agency, and digital literacy skills.
“Specifically, the project will benefit about 6.7 million adolescents and 15.5 million direct project beneficiaries which will include families and communities in participating states.
“The project entails building more than 5,500 JSS and 3,300 classrooms for SSS, as well as improving 2,786 JSS and 1,914 SSS with safe, accessible, and inclusive infrastructure.
“About 340,000 girls will receive life skills training in safe spaces, which will help them navigate challenges in life. This will incorporate health and key information on climate change, safety, and gender-based violence awareness.
“To help girls thrive in the digital economy, 300,000 girls will receive digital literacy training and offer half a million girls from the poorest households’ financial incentives to support their retention and completion of secondary school,” he said. (NAN)