GPE COVID-19 response grant targets 12m children, teachers – UNICEF

The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday said the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) COVID-19 response grant given to Nigeria was aimed at reaching 12 million children.

UNICEF said the grant was also to assist in training 3,500 teachers and reach 43,000 schools.

Mrs Mairama Dikwa, the Education Specialist of UNICEF made this known at the ongoing Cluster Mobilisation and Sensitisation Meetings on COVID-19 Protocol, Surveillance and Safe School Reopening Readiness.

She said that 32 local government areas from 16 states were also selected as beneficiaries of the grant.

She listed the focal states as Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Kastina, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Taraba, Plateau and Niger.

She said that all 36 states and the FCT were also included in the grant through digital learning programmes.

According to her, the grant will ensure access to diverse learning programmes for each contest through states level radio and television programmes and others.

“The GPE grant is an 18-months project from June 2020 to  November 2021, which will cover 121 million children directly or indirectly.

“The grant will also help in training 3,500 teachers and 43,000 schools across the country.

“ There is therefore need to involve the School Based Management Committee (SBMC), Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and community to advice parent on the need to bring special children to school,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Elizabeth Wapmuk, the Commissioner for Education in Plateau called for more training and retraining of teachers on how to handle teaching in the face of any pandemic.

Wapmuk said that the pandemic had enabled stakeholders to know that education did not end in the classroom alone but other measures could be adopted to transmit knowledge to students.

“When the COVID-19 came, we taught it brought a lot of disadvantages but since 2020, it has given the education sector an insight into training and retraining of teachers to cope with the challenges of the pandemic.

“It has enabled us to know that there are interior areas in this country that have not seen light and water, not to talk of education.

“Especially in Plateau, when intervention came, we realise that some areas in Plateau during the day usually experience darkness because of the terrain of mountains in the area.

“During the COVID-19 e-learning process, there was no way we could get to those disadvantaged areas hence the need for more interventions,” she said.

She pleaded with UNICEF, Federal Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to include Plateau in the area of disadvantaged state to give access to learning in such areas.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a 15 million dollars COVID-19 response grant had been given to the country by the GPE to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in schools. (NAN)