Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has announced its readiness to verify the Better Education Service for All (BESDA) programme so as to make it more accessible for out-of-school children in the country.
Statistician-General (S-G) of the Federation and NBS Chief Executive Officer, Prince Semiu Adeniran, stated this at a Training of the Trainers Workshop for the 2nd Round of the BESDA Verification in Abuja on Tuesday.
BESDA, which is a programme-for-result, is funded by the World Bank to support an increase in access to basic education by increasing equitable access for out-of-school children.
The aim of the programme includes to improve literacy and strengthen accountability for results in Nigerian basic education.
“BESDA, as you are all aware, is a results-based programme that allows states to earn rewards for achieving results under stipulated Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLI), with NBS serving as the Independent Verification Agency under the programme.
“This round of the verification is the second and final for the project. The first round was successfully implemented with over 54,017 schools and non-formal centres visited physically for the verification.
”This represents approximately 82 per cent of the frame initially planned for, with the uncovered balance largely due to insecurity and issues with the frame.”
According to Adeniran, the training is a culmination of months of planning and preparation for the main verification which has included several activities.
He said the activities consisted of a pre-test exercise, which was conducted in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Niger state, and a robust pilot study conducted in nine states.
He said this was to help gauge the level of preparation for the main exercise, among others.
The statistician-general said the verification was not only important to the BESDA programme itself, but also the statistical system in Nigeria.
“The verification process serves the critical purpose of enabling reward for state governments for their effort in improving literacy, accountability, and documentation in schools, as well as getting out of school children back into the classroom.
“The exercise also provides very important statistical information for planners within the education sector.
“As is generally known, it is impossible to make sustainable progress and development in any aspect of life without the adequate use of reliable data and statistics, so the importance of this exercise cannot be stressed enough. ”
The Statistician General urged all the trainers, monitors, and data editors to fully participate and engage in this training exercise.
He said that the success of the programme greatly depended on how well they performed their role in training the interviewers, monitoring their work in the field, and reviewing and assessing their submissions.
“It is my belief that if we work hard and show the same commitment to the process as we did in the last phase, we can achieve what is expected of us.
“We can also deliver results that cannot be contested by any state or stakeholder under the programme.”
The National Coordinator, BESDA, Federal Ministry of Education, Hajia Amina Haruna, said the programme was a five-year programme which started in 2018 and would end on Oct. 31, 2022.
According to Hajia Haruna, the programme is expected to cover the DLI. DLI are indicators that attract money or reward to a particular programme.
She said the reward for the 17 focus states for the first phase was ready and would be disbursed soon based on the report.
Hajia Haruna said that the 2nd Phase would be conducted in 17 BESDA Focus States.
She added that the states included all states in the North-East and North-West, Niger State in the North-Central, Oyo State in the South-West, Ebonyi in the South- East and Rivers in the South-South.
The verification of BESDA by NBS is in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education Commission and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.