By; Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is to invest the sum of $58 million to strengthen Bauchi State’s ability to deliver quality education to children in the state.
This assurance was contained in a press statement by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria signed by Josephine Kamara and made available to newsmen in Bauchi.
A five-year programme, the Northern Education Initiative Plus, introduced by USAID and the Bauchi State Government is to help improve educational performance of students in the state and serve as a model to other states, was officially launched on Wednesday in Bauchi.
According to the statement, the initiative will help support Hausa literacy optionally for more than 2 million children in Bauchi and Sokoto states.
Kamara said: “While focusing on the priorities of Bauchi and Sokoto, the initiative aims to strengthen the state and local government institutions that provide education, to teach children to read, and to expand access to safe, appropriate learning environments.
“The initiative will support Hausa literacy for nearly 2 million children, 45, 000 instructors to improve their teaching ability, and more than 500, 000 out-of-school children to start attending
non-formal learning centers in Bauchi and Sokoto States.”
She added that at launch of the initiative, USAID Mission Director, Michael Harvey said, “More children attending school to learn how to read and write sets the basic foundation for a better life and a stronger economy”
“The US government and the American people stand behind Nigeria’s efforts to help more children have access to quality education.”
According to her, for over five decades, the US government, through USAID, has supported Nigeria’s efforts to improve education at all levels, saying the “plus” added to the name of the initiative is an indication of continuing collaboration.
Kamara explained that USAID is the US government agency that supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances US foreign policy objectives by supporting economic growth, agriculture and trade global health, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.
“Since 2001, USAID education programs in Nigeria have supported access to quality basic education for girls and boys through teacher-training. USAID has also provided small matching-grants to communities, parent-teacher associations, and non-governmental organizations torehabilitate schools and prioritize community needs,” the statement concluded.