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FG’s Alternative School Programme to Gulp N3.677bn

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

Determined  to address the thorny issue of out-of-school children in the country, the Federal Government is proposing to expend a whopping sum of the N3,677 billion under the Alternative School Programme (ASP).

The Alternative School Programme is designed to bridge the gap of access to quality education for Out-of-School-Children (OOSC) in Nigeria.

It is a flexible provision of basic education to children without formal access to education that are pursuing: vocational/religious education; economic/market activities; and children without either activity such as children in IDP camps/settlements. 

The ASP is a joint programme of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) and the Federal Ministry of Education (FME). It is part of a wider drive to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal SDG-4.

The present programme which is different from others before it, is aimed at addressing the underlying socio-economic problems driving the rise in the number of out-of-school children with the humanitarian intervention of National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP).

One of the main objectives of the ASP, is to “Ensure Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote Life-long Learning Opportunities for All by the year 2030, with it provision of a more inclusive system of education that seeks to further address literacy inclusiveness among vulnerable children”.

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In fact, the overall objective of the ASP is to contribute to the rapid reduction of the number of OOSCs in Nigeria, by providing identified categories of children with access to quality basic education and skills in a way that conventional school systems are not designed to address.

Specifically, the aims and objectives of ASP, include to substantially reduce the number of OOSC in Nigeria; facilitate the effective integration of a basic formal education curriculum where religious education, vocational training/work or economic activities are solely pursued by children; and provide access to inclusive and equitable quality education to OOSCs by taking education to meet the children wherever they may be.

Others are to provide opportunities for the target beneficiaries to develop life supporting skills from vocational training to engender meaningful contribution to society; and Foster tolerance, unity, and integration of all children with diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

Targeted as beneficiaries of the programme are, children engaged in any form of economic activity/labour for instance ‘market children’, occasioned by poverty and without access to regular formal education; children from poor/vulnerable homes without access to regular formal education; and kids in the Almajiri system without access to regular formal education.

Equally, the ‘girl-child’ without access to formal education; street children without access to regular formal education; kids in correctional facilities without access to formal education; and victims of insurgency and/or social and environmental dislocation without access to regular formal education; as well those  in IDP Camps without access to regular formal education are also targeted.

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To set the ball rolling, the National Steering Committee of the ASP in April  2021, inaugurated the Technical Working Group and tasked it with transforming the aims of the programme into functional objectives and creating a plan for implementing the programme across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Its terms of reference include among others to undertake all other works and assignments as directed by the ASP-NSC to ensure successful implementation and impacts of the programme on Nigerians.

After considering their terms of reference, the TWG decided to organise themselves across three (3) Sub-Committees, namely 

Sub-Committee Planning;

Implementation; Monitoring, Evaluation and Data Management which were tasked with identifying areas of focus and to determine how their functions would be undertaken in the nationwide roll-out of the ASP.

Accordingly, enumeration and documentation of 50% of the total OOSC population by 2023; and Engaging 50% of OOSC population into the ASP by 2023.

These wider programme objectives are themselves broken down into component objectives and associated activities in furtherance of Planning Implementation and Monitoring & Evaluation.

At the kick off of the pilot scheme of the programme recently at Gangare in Jos, Plateau state, the representative of the Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Mr Julius Bawa addressed artisans, caterers,  resource persons, mallams and cleaners during the capturing of out of school children in Plateau State. 

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Similar programmes took place simultaneously in Dala, Kano and Maiduguri, the three pilot centres in the North; Rumuelumeni community, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Obiagu community, Enugu State, Makoko community, Lagos state and Karu in the Federal Capital Territory.

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Again, Wike, Obi Meet Behind Closed-Doors in Port Harcourt

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The aggrieved governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has for the second time in few weeks met behind closed doors with the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.

The meeting which held in Wike’s residence had in attendance the former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko.

This is not the first time Wike will be meeting politicians of rival political parties in his residence after losing the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), presidential and vice president tickets to Atiku and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

It was gathered that the meeting was to woo Wike to Labour Party, ahead of the 2023 general election.

Celebrating the meeting on his Twitter handle on Monday, Mimiko shared a photo with the politicians, saying that it was nice to spend some time with them.

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Terrorism: NSCDC Declares Emergency Security Measures in Schools Nationwide

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has declared a state of emergency in schools nationwide.

The Commandant General, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, represented by Deputy Commandant General ( DCG ), in charge of Crisis and Disaster Management, DCG Nnamdi Nwinyi, disclosed this in a two-day Train-the-Trainer Capacity Building Workshop at the Corps National Headquarters, Sauka, Abuja.

He said the state of emergency declared on schools nationwide was a proactive step in protecting Nigeria’s educational institutions.

According to him, the NSCDC has trained its Specialised Female Squad Unit on sustainable measures and strategies, to be used in protecting schools nationwide, thereby curtailing security threats.

The Commandant General observed that the workshop was “apt, timely and germaine to the implementation of the Safe School Initiative of the Federal Government.

He stated that the workshop was coming at a time when the nation is contending with security challenges, which he said necessitated the need for more pragmatic actions to whittle down the menace of insecurity in the country.

According to him, the Specialised Female Squad, since its formation has gained significant mileage against the ugly trend of the kidnapping of school children for a run.

He commended the Squad for their deliberate efforts in repelling numerous kidnapping attempts on students and more importantly, for keeping schools safe at all times.

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The CG charged the Unit to remain focused, resilient, and committed to the security of schools and the protection of students, teachers, and other workers.

“The learning environment should be devoid of violence and crimes to attain educational excellence, which is key to the growth and development of the nation.

“Nothing in the world could be so precious as our children, which is why we have declared an emergency in this sector to mitigate the multi-faceted threats challenging the nation’s security architecture, especially attacks on institutions of learning by hoodlums, kidnappers, and bandits.

“We have developed strategic plans and a robust template that will crystalize into more precise action to prevail over these hostilities and achieve sustainable safe schools in Nigeria.

“Note that the workshop is structured to expand your capacity as members of the Female Squad unit, you are therefore to compare notes, engage in critical thinking and come up with more robust templates to achieve sustainable safe schools in Nigeria.” He said.

Dr. Audi assured that schools would remain safe and conducive for Nigerian children as the Corps is intensively l, collaborating and cooperating with other security operatives in combating all forms of criminalities across the country.

He charged participants at the workshop to take the lessons, skills, and knowledge acquired during the training down to their colleagues and subordinates for effective discharge of duties.

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Chief Executive Officer, Supersonic Limited, Frank Ohwofa, in his remarks, thanked the Commandant-General, for granting their company the opportunity, to facilitate the training and praised his foresight, in creating the Specialised Female Squad.

He stated that the workshop is conceived to train the Female Squad Unit on new security trends and patterns employed by bandits and kidnappers for ransom.

“The workshop will interrogate in-depth public emergency security systems that can be deployed, by the Corps in collaboration with other stakeholders to effectively harness the kinetic assets of the Corps for maximum performance, thereby enhancing response time to violent incidents in places of learning.” He stated.

He stated that the workshop is consistent with the imperative to provide robust interventionist and proactive measures, to mitigate the multi-faceted threats confronting the nation.

He described those chosen to lead in the fight against kidnapping and other forms of insecurity threatening safe learning environment in this trying moment in our nation’s history as patriots.

He also challenged the participants to take advantage of the training, to build on the training already acquired, before now to fill necessary gaps.

He advised them to domesticate the knowledge and skills acquired in the strategic Train-The-Trainer Capacity Building Workshop, in their various State Command Headquarters.

A statement by the Director, Public Relations, DCC. Olusola Odumosu, NSCDC, National Headquarters Abuja, on Tuesday, said the CEO of Supersonic Limited, Frank Ohwofa, assured that with the cream of experts available at the workshop, the participants would leave the programme sharpened, and re-invigorated.

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He added that the participants would go home better informed about new strategic planning tactics and execution of security protocols in schools.

“He called on the Federal Government, State Governments, proprietors of private school owners, and all stakeholders in the education sector, to give maximum support to the efforts of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, under the able leadership of the current Commandant – General, for better security and protection of schools, students, teachers, and workers nationwide.” The statement added.

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Odinga Rejects Kenya Election Results

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Raila Odinga has rejected the results of Kenya’s presidential election saying that the figures announced on Monday were “null and void”.

According to the results, Mr Odinga narrowly lost to Deputy President William Ruto.

Mr Odinga accused the head of the electoral body of a “blatant disregard of the constitution”.

“We totally without reservation reject the presidential election results,” he said.

Making his remarks in front of supporters in the capital, Nairobi, he said that there was “neither a legally elected winner nor a president-elect”.

The 77-year-old long-time opposition leader was running for president for the fifth time. He has challenged the results in the previous two elections, including successfully in 2017.

Mr Odinga accused the chairman of the electoral body Wafula Chebukati of “gross impunity” saying his team will pursue all legal options.

Minutes before Mr Odinga spoke, four of seven electoral commissioners who refused to approve Monday’s results held a press conference to give their reasons.

They accused Mr Chebukati of side-lining them and of announcing results that were full of “mathematical absurdity and defied logic”.

Juliana Cherera, the vice-chairperson of the commission, said that if you added the percentages as announced by the chairperson of the commission the sum came to 100.01%.

But some commentators have said that this is down to a simple rounding error.

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