Benedicta (right), trying out the new Medium Term Sector Strategy template.
For Benedicta Onyia from Anokwe in the Udi - Enugu state, life at work is beginning to blossom. She now enjoys planning and budgeting and feels confident taking on any task of this kind. Benedicta now enjoys her job more than ever: ’... there is a big difference between what you know well to do and what you used to do just for the sake of doing it. Now I have been equipped, thanks to ESSPIN.’
As the Chief Executive Officer for the budget in the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Benedicta played an important role developing the Enugu state education plan 2011-2014 as well as its Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) for education.
The MTSS describes everything the education ministry, its departments and agencies (MDAs) will do over the three-year period. It is part of the wider state planning process which starts with a basic analysis of the sector and will serve as a platform for longer-term planning. For Enugu state, there had been gaps in the budget allocated to the MDAs because the strategy was not detailed and realistic enough.ESSPIN supported Enugu state in developing the MTSS in order to encourage planning and financial management processes. So now the story is different. Benedicta acknowledges that her eyes have been opened to the right things. ‘ESSPIN has given us shortcuts to success...’ ,she says.
Compared to what she used to do in the past, Benedicta says she knew nothing about developing precise budgets based on the needs of the state or about budgeting for individual activities such as equipping a school with basic infrastructure. But after the MTSS development workshop, Benedicta says ‘...now I can cost and cost things right’.
Enugu state education officers are sure that MTSS will bring about positive change in the education sector. They are hopeful that the next Enugu state budget will reflect the MTSS. ESSPIN has also worked with stakeholders in the state to introduce an annual review of its education sector, including a means of evaluating the work done and promoting the improvements.
UKAid is working through the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria, ESSPIN, to develop effective planning, financing and delivery systems that will improve the quality of basic education in Nigeria. Getting people to change the way they do things may seem an uphill struggle, but with ESSPIN’s support, the state and federal governments are putting new systems in place, which will help deliver better quality education for Nigeria’s 24 million children in primary school and encourage 8 million more currently out of school to come to class.