£230m In Aid To Nigerian Schools By The British Government Is Feared Wasted As Pupils Are Left To Play Games Because Teachers Fail To Turn Up, Says Report

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£230million British aid programme to boost schools in Nigeria has
produced ‘no major improvement in pupil learning’, a study has warned. The
Independent Commission on Aid Impact says UK-funded education programmes are
struggling to make any difference to Nigeria’s chaotic education system. Britain has poured £102million into
education in ten of the country’s 36 states during the last seven years, and is
due to spend a further £126million by 2019.
But the report raises serious
questions about whether the Department for International Development is
achieving value for money from the project. It found that around a third of the
eligible children – an estimated 3.7million – were still not in school, while
those that were received little by way of education.

 The study also found many rural
schools were affected by a chronic lack of teachers, with staff frequently not
turning up for work. A researcher visited one Dfid-funded school in rural Nigeria
to find almost all the teachers were absent, leaving the pupils to play
football outside.
‘It was the only activity at the
school,’ the report says. 
‘A bell rang but none of the pupils
moved towards the classrooms. When asked about the bell, the boys said that it
signalled a break – the football continued uninterrupted.’ 
The report went on: ‘We are concerned
by the very high numbers of out-of-school children and the very poor learning
outcomes in nine of the ten states supported by Dfid.
‘Dfid’s education programme in Nigeria
operates in a very challenging environment, with too few effective teachers,
poor infrastructure and unpredictable state funding all contributing to poor
learning outcomes for pupils in basic education.
‘Our review indicates no major
improvement in pupil learning.’ 
The report warns that Dfid’s strategy
of pumping resources into improving the overall school system was ‘not an
appropriate strategy to tackle the most severe problems in the weakest
schools’.
It also says there is a danger that
the policy of supporting secular teaching in Nigeria’s many Islamic schools
could backfire, with pupils boycotting lessons in some areas in protest.
And concerns were raised about whether
money is making it through Nigeria’s bureaucracy to the front line. 
A trainee teacher told researchers
that she and others were giving up because their scholarship money had not been
released by the state government. 
The report is embarrassing for Dfid,
which has more than doubled the aid programme to Nigeria in recent years.
Britain is due to hand the country £1billion over four years, despite warnings
that corruption is widespread.
But sources at Dfid questioned the
findings of the watchdog, which was set up last year to report to Parliament on
the fast-growing aid budget. 
A spokesman for the department said:
‘This was a limited inquiry in that the team only visited 1 per cent of
schools, most of which were in only one state in Nigeria, and they did not take
into account the most recent evidence of the projects’ progress.
‘However, we will carefully review the
report’s recommendations and respond in due course.’ 
Meanwhile, ministers faced fresh
questions on Tuesday over multi-million-pound aid programmes to Rwanda and
Uganda, amid claims the two countries are supporting a murderous rebellion in
the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
International Development Secretary
Justine Greening suspended £11million of aid to Uganda on Friday, and is under
pressure to reverse her predecessor Andrew Mitchell’s decision to release
£16million to Rwanda.
Both countries are accused of backing
the notorious M23 rebels who have forced hundreds of thousands of people in the
DRC from their homes.
Foreign Secretary William Hague
yesterday warned British citizens to flee the city of Goma, in the DRC as it
came under attack from the rebels.
In the Commons, shadow international
development secretary Ivan Lewis said the Government’s approach to the region
was ‘shambolic’. He called on Miss Greening to ‘stop dithering’ and suspend aid
to Rwanda.
Miss Greening said she would review
the evidence before deciding whether the next £21million payment should go
ahead next month. 
She said: ‘I will take a look at all
the evidence on the ground, and indeed from all sources, when I come to make my
decision in December and I’m not going to pre-empt that.’ 
Source: Dailymail.co.uk

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