The Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Tuesday, disclosed that the Federal Government is feeding more than 7.5 million pupils in 46,000 public primary schools across the country under its school feeding programme.
Osinbajo made this known in Abuja while declaring open a two-day 2020 Nigeria’s Annual Education Conference, where he also disclosed that more than 46 million learners were adversely affected by the closure of schools as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “The school feeding programme coordinated by the Presidency is another positive development in the education sector with 300 million meals served to over 7.5 million pupils in 46,000 public primary schools.”
He said the theme of the conference: “Building an Effective, Resilient and Sustainable Education System for Nigeria During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic was an apt and true reflection of an unusual global challenge faced by education in recent days.
The Vice-President who delivered his speech through Zoom noted that the emergence of COVID-19 has no doubt adversely affected the education sector and the economy at national global levels.
The pandemic had forced schools and many businesses to temporarily shut down with governments placing restrictions on movement among other measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
He said: “According to UNESCO, an estimated 1.725 billion learners have been affected as a result of school closures, representing about 99.9% of the world’s student population as of April 13th, 2020. Notably, approximately 46 million learners were affected in Nigeria.”
He said to cushion the effect of the pandemic, the world is embracing technological innovations, stressing that there was the urgent need to design and develop suitable curriculum, assessments and monitoring system that focus on improving education through the alignment of the curriculum to existing and projected education needs.
Osinbajo further noted that there was the need to revise current assessment methods and reinforcing systems that support the effective monitoring of the education sector during and post COVID-19 pandemic.
He also disclosed that the current administration has disbursed N32.5 billion through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in matching grants to 22 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and utilised 8.7 billion in the construction and rehabilitation of public schools and procured N15.o7 billion worth of instructional materials in the core subjects for basic education and science equipment for junior secondary schools.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu whose speech was read by the Permanent Secretary, Arc Sonny Echono, said the Federal Government would continue to look into how to deploy technologies and the internet in education to ensure that online education becomes an integral component of school education in Nigeria.