*Says programme now encompasses economic empowerment of children
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–THE federal government,Tuesday, announced expansion of membership of the National Steering Committee,NSC of the Alternate School Programme,ASP.
This was as it said beyond education provision, the programme would henceforth be seen as a means of improving the future outcomes of the children and all the way to the larger Nigerian economy.
The government at the third meeting of the steering committee in Abuja, where the programme’s 33-member Technical Working Group,TWG,was also inaugurated,announced inclusion of eight more members of the ASP.
These include Ministry of Women Affairs;Ministry of Information and Culture;Minister of Communications and Digital Economy;Hon.Maigari Bello;Chairman, Southern Governors Forum;Sen. Akon Etim Eyakenyi;Mrs Eke Nelson and Managing Director, NSU Microfinance Bank.
In her opening remark at the event,the
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,, Sadiya Umar Farouq, expressed joy that,”This third meeting is representative of the extent of work that the National Steering Committee has done thus far, as we have finally reached the stage where programme implementation can commence.”
“We believe that your participation and contribution will be invaluable to the success of the Alternate School Programme,”the minister told the new members.
Farouq recalled that:”The National Steering Committee, at its inaugural meeting, moved for the establishment of a Technical Working Group to ensure effective planning and implementation of the ASP, with representatives drawn from the NSC member institutions and other key organisations.
“Hence, the primary purpose of today’s meeting is to inaugurate the TWG such that they are enabled to forge ahead towards successful implementation of this very critical programme,”she explained.
She charged members:”As I stated at the last meeting, and for the benefit of the new attendees, let us all remain mindful of the numerous benefits of the Alternate School Programme to our children, their households, their communities and of course the Nigerian economy at large.”
“Through this programme, every child, irrespective of social, cultural or economic standing, can gain access to quality education, using the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes, as delivered through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, to absorb certain socio-economic shocks that they may be exposed to.
“Beyond education provision, the programme should be seen as a means of improving the future outcomes of the children and all the way to the larger Nigerian economy.
” It will also equip the children with life-long skills to enable them, in the future, contribute meaningfully to the Nigerian economy, provide some household income for their respective families and create employment for members of the local community, thus improving their local economy.
“The criticality of this programme cannot be over emphasised, and it is on the back of this that I urge us all to continue with the momentum so that we can begin to record much needed success.
However, critical to this success must “be effective collaboration and this should remain the mainstay of our committees,”she added.
The minister charged the members of the programme’s TWG to be mindful of the numerous benefits of the Alternate School Programme to the children, their households, their communities and the Nigerian economy.”
“Today’s inauguration of the TWG is to enable a successful implementation of this very critical programme. Through the Alternate School Programme, every child, irrespective of social, cultural or economic standing, can gain access to quality education, using the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes, as delivered through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, to absorb certain socio-economic shocks that they may be exposed to.
“We believe that your participation and contribution will be invaluable to the success of the Alternate School Programme”.
The terms of reference for the TWG are to develop a strategic framework for the implementation of the ASP across the country;design a comprehensive stakeholder mapping strategy to identify and ensure effective engagement for successful delivery of the programme nationwide,design the consultative and planning process for effective take-off of the ASP Initiative,prepare a statement of work for consideration,approval by the ASP National Steering Committee and ensure the effective and timely implementation of all approved field work on the ASP.
Others are to design a comprehensive Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment Framework to enhance the effectiveness of the programme;conduct detailed analysis, prepare timely progress reports and submit proposals for enhancing the effectiveness of the Programme for the ASP-NSC consideration,to maintain comprehensive database and records on the implementation of the ASP as well as undertake all other works and assignments as directed by the ASP-NSC to ensure successful implementation and impacts of the programme on Nigerians.
Members of the Technical Working Group are drawn from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of State, Education, Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Ministry of State, Finance, Budget and National Planning, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Sustainable Development Goals, National Youth Service Corps, Governors’ Forum, Northern Governors’ Forum, Southern Governors’ Forum, Universal Basic Education Commission, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, Global Partnership for Education, Private Sector Advisory Group – SDGs and Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development.
Other members are from the Senate Committee on Basic Education, House Committee on Basic Education, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Senator Akon Etim Eyakenyi, Dr. Shehu Balarabe Kakale, Hon Maigari Bello, National Identity Management Commission, National Orientation Agency, National Population Commission, National Bureau of Statistics, National Education Research and Development Council, Education Development Partners Group, Save the Children, MD, NSU Microfinance Bank and Mrs Eke Nels.
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