Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has renewed its partnership with FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) aimed at promoting access to education for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in the territory.
Mrs Jummai Musa, the Programme Manager, OVC, IHVN, said this when a team from the institute paid courtesy visit to UBEB on Monday in Abuja.
Musa said that the partnership was under the IHVN Education Block Granting programme funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
She said that the advocacy visit to UBEB was to solicit for its collaboration for effective implementation of the block grant, especially with regards to the 2020 Block Grant Implementation.
She added that “in the past, we have been having challenges with schools not wanting to approve or give waiver of any kind.
“That is why we believe that we should tackle it from the top, it will be easier for us.”
She explained that the expectations of block granting from PEPFAR was to ensure that children had safe school environment to complete primary education and to promote access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes.
She added that it would also ensure that personnel created child-friendly and HIV/AIDS- and gender-sensitive classrooms, while strengthening community- school relationships.
She said “the block grant model would address identified needs of common interest beneficial to the generality of teachers and pupils in schools without barriers, as well as project implementation and supervision with time frames.”
She, however, said that branding and handing over of supplies and structures to SUBEB was also expected from PEPFAR.
Musa said the education block sought to institutionalise conducive teaching and learning environment in pilot public schools, through the provision and maintenance of mutually agreed school facilities, in lieu of funding for school fees of vulnerable children enrolled in such schools.
The programme manager said that schools played significant roles in early childhood development, adding that children who went to school were provided with opportunities for social interaction, character building and enhanced learning.
According to her, schools can influence a child’s growth and ability to achieve in life.
“Quality education not only enhances a child’s future potential, it also provides him or her the skills necessary to function as a productive member of society,” she added.
Alhaji Hussaini Kuje, the Director, Junior Secondary Education , FCT UBEB, said that UBEB was mandated to provide quality basic education, which included Early Child Care, Primary, Junior Secondary and Nomadic Education, to the teeming school age population in the FCT.
Kuje thanked IHVN for its continuous support aimed at improving the quality of basic education for OVC in the country.
He described the collaboration as timely, adding that it was in line with the plan of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to prioritise basic education.
“When you talk of out-of-school, you talk of vulnerable children.
“We are duty bound to make sure that no child of school age is allowed to roam the streets so we welcome every policy to make sure that we reduce the number of out of school children.
“It is a welcome idea, we welcome it very well,” he said.
The director assured that the project would be properly maintained.