A review committee will implement an extension of the system to accommodate over 9 million indigent children

Vice President Namadi Sambo, on Wednesday, said that a meeting with state governors and traditional rulers has been convened as a forum to consider and agree on ways of extending the Almajiri Education Programme to all parts of the country.

Speaking at a review meeting of the Almajiri Education Programme, held at the State House, Abuja, Sambo said: “It has been recognised now that there are several other children out there, throughout the country, who are indigent and cannot afford basic formal education and that is why government has risen to the occasion to tackle the challenges posed by this growing phenomenon”.

He urged the review committee to assess the situation as at now and come up with suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the programme, adding that the review should be along an increased participation of stakeholders, particularly states and local governments as well as the traditional institutions, with a view to effectively contributing positively towards ensuring the success of the programme.

Other modus operandi of the review included putting in place an efficient mechanism for building synergies and collaborations among various relevant agencies and institutions; evolving more elaborate, sustainable and participatory funding and responsibility sharing mechanism, among others.

“President Goodluck Jonathan has given clear directives that the goals of providing opportunity to all the 9.5 million Almajiris in the country to attend formal education, while also having Islamic education, must be ensured,” he said.

He said that the federal government has decided to share with the state governments the provision of uniforms and books, adding that the Islamic Development Bank was ready to fund the bilingual education through private sector arrangement.

So far, Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) has spent N50 million on Model One and N185 million on Model Two Almajiri schools, while the Tertiary Education Trust Fund spent N240 million on Boarding and N80 million on Day Schools; bringing their total to N555 million.

In her remarks, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, who led the delegation, said 36 schools handled by the UBEC were at various stages of completion while some of them are ready for commissioning and 66 others being handled by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund are also at various stages of completion. She said that by the end of the year, a total of 102 Almajiri schools would be built.

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