By Sundiata POST, Abuja
ABUJA – The World Bank has pledged to support the Lagos Eko Secondary Schools project with 42 million dollars to enhance the education sector in the state.
The World Bank’s pledged was contained in a statement issued in Abuja.
It said that the new fund already approved by the bank’s board was an additional amount to the existing loans to the state.
“The new IDA credit of over 42 million dollars to the Lagos EKO Secondary School Project is an addition to an original credit of 95 million dollars.
“This systematically benefited over 620,000 students a year in 667 public secondary schools in Lagos State between 2009 and 2013.
“It will allow strong results to be sustained and evaluated in hundreds of secondary schools and expand others,” it said.
The World Bank said that the grant had also helped to increase the number of poor children accessing quality secondary education.
It also added that it helped technical college graduates from low-income backgrounds to find well-paying jobs.
The World Bank said that the grant had further helped students to improve dramatically in Basic Education Certification Examination.
“Student scores from beneficiary schools went up from 30 per cent to 70 per cent in English, 31 per cent to 45 per cent in Mathematics and 27 per cent to 65 per cent in Basic Sciences.
It said the results of the June 2013 West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate external examinations showed that 41 per cent of students from beneficiary schools passed with five credits and above compared with over 18 per cent before the project.
Commenting on the development, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, said the grant would provided children from poor homes opportunity to access quality education
“When students from poor families have the opportunity to go to secondary school and acquire sound knowledge and skills, they stand a fair chance of getting a good job or accessing economic opportunities later in life
“This contributes to eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in furtherance of the World Bank’s two main goals,” she said.
She said that with the new financing, the project would now extend school development grants to the original beneficiary schools until 2015.
She said the bank would track the performance of beneficiary students in public examinations and continue professional development activities for teachers and school management.
Mr Olatunde Adekola, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project, said the project was critical in the development of the education sector and creating opportunities for children of the poor to access quality education.
“The Lagos EKO project has built a critical pathway for students from low-income background to gain access to good-quality secondary education, showing that where there is a will, there is a way.”