A Qatar-based NGO, Education Above All Foundation (EAA) said it earmarked N332.8m to support 20,802 out-of-school children in Katsina State.
Mr Rahama Rihood, the Chief of United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Kano Field Office, made this known on Friday at the inauguration of the cash transfer programme in Mani Local Government Area (LGA), Katsina.
According to him, the cash transfer programme is under the EAA’s ‘Educate a Child’ programmes implemented by UNICEF in Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
The UNICEF Chief added that, “Through this cash transfer programme, a total of N332,832.000 will be disbursed to 20,802 out of school children in Kafur, Mani and Safana LGAs of Katsina State.
“The funds will be disbursed through 10,557 female parents and caregivers to assist the children return to school.
“Each female parent/caregiver will receive N8, O00 per tranche, twice in 2022, amounting to N16,000 per beneficiary.
“The cash transfer programme will ensure that beneficiaries are enrolled and retained in school, including Integrated Quranic Schools (lQSs), and that they are provided with literacy and numeracy skills linked to employability and livelihood schemes.”
Rihood said that the cash transfer programme was being delivered together with the birth registration programme which had so far seen the registration of 20,400 children.
“I am also excited to learn that the beneficiaries of the cash transfer will be linked to the Katsina state social protection register.
“This comprehensive approach to programme design is more likely to be sustainable and have lasting effects for the beneficiary communities.
“In addition to putting in place necessary legislations, I would like to urge the Katsina State Government to allocate and dispense more resources to the education sector.
He called for “the education development budget that addresses the improvement of the learning environment that directly impacts the quality of learning outcomes.
“I would like to assure the government or Katsina State of UNICEF’s continued partnership to deliver on the right to safe, inclusive and quality learning for every child,” he said.
He pointed out that Katsina’s success in increasing primary enrollment and completion was truly commendable.
According to him, the recent law on access to basic education enacted by the executive arms set the stage for delivering on all children’s right to basic education.
“Yet we know that some of the most disadvantaged children in Katsina, as across other Northern states, remain excluded from education.
“This is particularly true for girls, who face increasingly restricted access as they enter their adolescent years.
“Just 58 per cent of primary school-aged girls in Katsina are attending school, and this percentage decreases to less than 30 per cent by the time they reach secondary school age.
“Overall, only 1 in 3 children who completed primary education, transit to secondary school. There are many gendered reasons for the low transition rate between primary and junior secondary school.
“But an overriding challenge that the state and the nation must confront in earnest is the availability of junior secondary schools to meet the large and growing adolescent population in Nigeria”, Rihood said.
Gov. Aminu Masari commended the foundation and UNICEF for the support, saying it would go a long way in returning many out of school children to class.
He promised to give them all the necessary support in executing the programme, adding that it was a complement to his ongoing commitment in the education sector in the state.