Nasarawa state government under Governor Abdullahi Sule has paid the sum of N700m as penalty fee to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) before starting accessing grants from the commission just it has commissioned and handed-over the model Second Chance School Akwanga, to the Nasarawa State Government, aimed at providing access to married women and young girls who for one reason or the other, have not attended school or did not complete either their primary or junior secondary schools.
The commissioning and handing over ceremony took place in Kurmin Tagwaye, in Akwanga, headquarters of Akwanga Local Government Area, on Monday.
Commissioning the project, Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Hameed Boboye, said the school will provide a second chance to women, who have not been able, for one reason or the other, to complete their education earlier, to be able to come back acquire basic education, as well as vocational skills to make them self-reliant.
Dr. Boboye added that, the second chance school in Akwanga is the first in the country, stressing that it’s the hope of the commission for the project to succeed so that it can be replicated in other states.
“When we wanted to find a state that could really handle this kind of project, it’s not a standard project, it’s a project that needs a lot of nurturing, needs the kind of support that can make sure the project succeeds, the first person who came to mind was Engineer Abdullahi Sule.
“When I talked to him, he has no hesitation. Yes, it’s something we can do. It’s the kind of project we can support and we assure you that if you build this project in this place, it will be well taken care of by the government of Nasarawa and by the people of Nasarawa State,” Dr, Boboye said.
He explained that school will provide opportunity to the learners to complete basic education and also acquire entrepreneurial skills in other to make them self-reliant and contribute positively to the growth of the economy and the overall development of the society.
Dr. Boboye said the country must endeavour to build varied and innovative pathways within the nation’s basic educational subsector, to broaden access and to ensure that each and every Nigerian of school going age, is granted the golden opportunity to attend his or her educational goals.
The UBEC executive secretary however tasked the Nasarawa State Government, benefitting community, as well as traditional rulers, on ensuring not only the effective utilisation of the school but to ensure the success of the programme.
He disclosed that the school comprises of three classrooms, three workshops, one for fashion design, another for tailoring and one for home economics and catering, a computer laboratory, a cafeteria and sick bay, as well as other facilities for conveniences.
In his remarks, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, narrated how his administration was able to settle penalty fees to the tune of over N700m to enable the state access grants which enabled the government to develop over 200 schools across the state.
While appreciating the UBEC executive secretary for the interventions so far, Engineer Sule assured the commission that the Second Chance School in Akwanga will be a success so that the project can be replicated elsewhere.
“We must do everything to make them proud about this institution. Because if it fails, God forbid, then we are causing problem to some people who will have had it. That’s the reason why, I personally promised you, every time I am going to Wamba, I stop by to see what exactly is happening in this school,” the Governor said.
Engineer Sule therefore urged the paramount traditional ruler, the Chun Mada, political appointees in the area, as well as members of the benefitting community, to work assiduously towards safeguarding the school and making sure it succeeds.
Earlier in a welcome address, state Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Fatu Jimaita Sabo, described the event as remarkable, saying it will serve as a catalyst in the Engineer Sule administration to offer another chance to citizens who were unable to access formal education, to acquire requisite vocational skills to improve their socioeconomic status and overall well-being.
Also, in a welcome address, Executive Chairman, Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB), Mohammed Danazumi, noted that, the establishment of the Akwanga Second Chance School, is a well thought out project conceived by a pragmatic and amiable executive secretary of UBEC, which will provide another opportunity or second chance, to not only inculcate values and knowledge but also skills for self-reliance.
Danazumi said the school will target essentially women namely widows, orphans, single mothers, divorcee females, dropout females, with skills to be acquired to include but not limited to catering and home economics, tailoring and fashion design, information and communication technology.
He used the opportunity to highlight some of the interventions UBEC in Nasarawa State, to include the model one school which is almost at completion stage and due to commence academic activities soonest.
The NSUBEB boss appreciated Engineer Sule for ensuring that Nasarawa State is among the few states that are prompt in the payment of counterpart funding which has earned the state laurels from UBEC.
“Already, the implementation of UBE 2020/21 is at 75 percent completion, which by UBEC guidelines qualifies Nasarawa State to access the matching grants for the year 2023 incubation,” Danazumi stated.
The NSUBEB chairman equally charged the coordinator of the school and the immediate community, on the need to imbibe a culture of maintenance, in order to sustain the facility for the benefit of women across the state.