For the fourth time this year, stakeholders in the education sector, including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), have met to deliberate on the implementation of the Alternate School Programme (ASP), as advised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The programme, according to them, is targeted at improving access to education for all Nigerian children, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensuring inclusive, equitable, quality education opportunities for Nigerians.
Members of the National Steering Committee of the ASP are drawn from the Presidency, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Northern Governors Forum, National Population Commission, the National Bureau of Statistics and Save the Children Foundation, National Senior Citizens Centre, National Assembly, Federal Ministries of Education, Humanitarian Affairs, Women Affairs, Finance and Budget Planning and Civil Society Organisations.
Addressing the stakeholders Tuesday in Abuja, the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, said plans are underway to ensure the implementation of the ASP is realised. She said: “This meeting is important as it provides the first opportunity for the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the ASP committee to present their plan for the implementation of this ambitious scheme across the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT. The federal government is committed to ensuring that all necessary things are done to facilitate the actualisation of the programme that will benefit millions of out-of-school children across the country. I want to commend the TWG for their effort in the provision of the operationalisation modalities of the programme.
“The programme targeting the problem of out-of-school children is brought about by the recognition that, while education is a pathway out of poverty, it remains elusive and out of reach for some segments of vulnerable populations to access. We recognise that in providing a combination of a basic formal education curriculum with selected social investment programmes, we provide a pathway for this section of the vulnerable population to take a first step out of poverty in the long-term. “The very nature of out-of-school children populations in Nigeria, the objectives of the ASP has determined that traditional approaches to educational programmes are not readily applicable. Today is the first step of many toward the execution of the programme and I remain grateful to all members of the NSC and the TWG for their respective contributions and support in bringing us this far.”