Kwara State Governor and Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Tuesday engaged a mission team of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in talks for a partnership to develop basic education in the state.
The JICA team is in Kwara to explore how to support the state in different sectors, especially in education and agriculture. Kwara had recently been named alongside FCT Abuja as beneficiary state of JICA interventions owing to its commitment to basic education development. The JICA team on basic education is working with the Professor Raheem Adaramaja-led State Universal Basic Education Board.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the JICA team to Ilorin, the Governor said his administration has invested so much in school infrastructure and human capital development, adding however that more interventions are still required to consolidate on the gains in the sector.
He commended JICA for their offer of partnership that he said will complement his administration’s efforts to improve the quality of teaching and learning outcomes in public schools.
“This is a very useful engagement, and we thank you for reaching out to us and for being your brothers’ keepers,” the Governor told the JICA’s mission team led by Matsuzaki Mizuki.
AbdulRazaq said the agency is reputed for making strong interventions in sectors like education and healthcare delivery, adding that he looked forward to their visit to Kwara translating to a good deal for the people of the state.
“We are excited that you are here. Your visit will support us in fixing some of the deficits in the education sector. We can definitely partner to improve our basic education because nothing is perfect, and we have some deficiencies like out-of-school children and concerns around girl-child education, among others. We are trying as much as we can to fortify our education sector. The better the education, the better the global economy, and the better our security will be generally,” the Governor said.
“We know JICA with its strong interventions, and it is something we look out for and we can have a proper agreement to move things forward.
JICA’s team lead, Matsuzaki Mizuki, said the agency is into providing support for an improved quality in education, especially at the basic level.
He added: “It is our great honour to be here today. On behalf of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), I thank you very much for accepting us. For us, it is the first time we are coming to Kwara State and we arrived here at Airport. We have already felt that great things will happen.
“The most important thing is that we are focusing on improving quality education, especially basic education. We have done this before as a small state project through science and mathematics education and also supporting establishing teachers’ education.
“We are here to see how we can support your basic education. This afternoon, we learnt a lot from the Executive Chairman of KWSUBEB. He told us what you have done and some of the challenges you have. We are to inspect the facilities to see things ourselves, and after that, we will go back to Japan and continue discussion on how we can support your state in basic education.”
Mizuki, who is Director for JICA’s basic education project, said they had received a request from the Federal Ministry of Education on behalf of the Nigerian government to support the country on basic education.
The choice of Kwara state was informed by the report of greater commitment of AbdulRazaq’s administration in educational growth, Mizuki later told journalists after inspecting schools.
He applauded the administration for the warm reception and for championing the education reforms, among other developmental strides.
Chairman, Kwara SUBEB, Prof Sheu Raheem Adaramaja, said the government under AbdulRazaq has revamped facilities across 605 basic schools out of 2887 that needed urgent attention, saying JICA’s intervention will go a long way in steadily filling the gap.