The Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme is a federal initiative that aims to increase access to quality education for out-of-school children and improve literacy in Nigeria. One of the states that is participating in the programme is Jigawa, which has the fifth largest number of out-of-school children in the country, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Many of these children are Almajiris, who are young boys that are sent by their parents to study the Quran under the guidance of a teacher, but often end up begging on the streets without any formal education. The Jigawa State Government has recently approved over N2.8 billion for the establishment of modern Tsangaya (Almajiri Schools) in the five emirate councils in the state, as part of its efforts to address the problem of out-of-school children and provide them with quality education.

According to Premium Times, the funds approved by the state government are part of the BESDA programme, which is supported by the World Bank and the federal government. The initiative was announced by the government’s spokesperson, Sagir Musa, following the state’s executive council meeting presided over by the governor, Umar Namadi, on Wednesday. The official said the schools will enrol at least 12,000 pupils when completed. The schools will be equipped with modern facilities, such as classrooms, hostels, laboratories, toilets, and administrative blocks. The schools will also provide the pupils with free meals, uniforms, books, and other learning materials. The official said the funds will also be used for activities such as the payment of a five-month outstanding allowance for facilitators of Almajiri/Girl Child centres, the payment of proprietors, the procurement of instructional materials, and capacity-building workshops for the teachers.

The governor had earlier approved a permanent offer of appointment to 3,000 teachers to bridge the existing gaps among teachers across the state. The spokesperson said the governor is committed to improving the standard of education in the state and ensuring that every child has access to quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances. Meanwhile, the governor has also approved the award of contracts for the emergency renovation of schools destroyed by storms across the state. The first phase of the renovation will cover 11 schools in the state and will gulf over N427 million. The renovation will cover blocks of classrooms, hostels, laboratories, wall fences, toilets and administrative blocks, the spokesperson said. The governor expressed his sympathy to the affected schools and assured them of the government’s support to restore their learning environment.

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