10 January 2013

Nigeria: Japan Hands-Over 317 Classrooms to Strengthen Education in Nigeria

The Japanese government on Thursday in Abuja handed over to the Federal Government 317 classrooms aimed at strengthening mathematics and science education in the country.

The classrooms, including 308 toilet booths equipped with furniture, were constructed in 33 primary schools across 22 Local Government Areas of Kano State by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Minister of state for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, acknowledged Japan's assistance and support to overcome the myriad of challenges facing the country's education sector.

According to him, the Federal Government is committed to ensuring quality education. He said the concerted effort of all stakeholders was crucial to achieving the goal.

Wike said that the project would contribute significantly to improving access to basic education as well as strengthen the teaching and learning of mathematics and science education.

"It is another important contribution of JICA towards improving the teaching and learning of mathematics and science subjects across the basic education system in the entire country."

The Minister noted that Niger, Plateau and Kaduna had benefitted from the initiative in the past.

Wike assured JICA that the Ministry of Education would ensure that the classrooms were put to effective use to achieve the purpose for which they were provided.

"Let me also challenge the beneficiary communities to make good use of this opportunity by ensuring that every child of school age is enrolled to attend any public school nearest to them," Nwike said.

Handing over the project, Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr Ryuichi Shoji described education as an invaluable asset for children.

He said that N2.31 billion was expended in the construction of the project. Shoji said that investing in people was crucial for the economic development of a country and the emancipation of each individual.

He also announced plans by Japan to provide classrooms for 5,000 pupils in the FCT in 2013. "It will be achieved in collaboration with the local Non-Governmental Organisations."

Mr Seki Tetsuo, Chief Representative of JICA, said that the project constitutes part of the Government of Japan's Grant Aid to Nigeria.

He said that the project commenced in June 2010, with the overall goal of constructing additional classrooms and toilets.

Tetsuo said the effort would enable more children to attend school in a suitable and conducive environment.

"It is expected that approximately 12,680 pupils will benefit from these facilities," he said.

He added that innovative engineering techniques originating from Japan were employed with regard to roofing, doors and windows, to ensure durability of the buildings.

Tetsuo called on State Universal Basic Education Boards and Local Government Education Authorities responsible for overseeing the schools to improve the system of monitoring and maintaining the facilities.

"This project is envisaged to help reduce the problem of congestion in primary schools and encourage pupils, particularly girls, to attend school regularly," Tetsuo said.

The Governor of Kano state, Dr Musa Kwankwaso, commended the Japanese government for complementing the state's efforts in improving primary education in the state.

Kwankwaso, who was represented by Mr Tajudeen Ahmed, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kano, pledged the judicious use and maintenance of the facilities.

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