Parent dropping off newly enrolled girl child at Tunga Maje Local Government Education Authority School, Kwara State.
“The people often complained of the amount of money they spend to send their children to school without instant returns. Now their perception of the expensive nature of sending their children to school is a thing of the past” – says Kareem Babarinde is the Head Teacher at Tunga Maje Local Government Education Authority School, Kaiama Local Government Area, Kwara State and a member of the newly constituted School Based Management Committee (SBMC).
The SBMC provides guidance on school development planning, monitors school activities and spending and involves the community in issues of school governance and accountability. UKaid through the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) support to the formation of these committees is ongoing and the communities are getting more involved with the renovation of school buildings and furniture and actively getting more children into schools.
Kazeem is now more enthusiastic about his job as a head teacher and makes it a point of duty to check in on parents whose children are absent from school - “I go from door to door to remind the parents about sending their female children to school. I am not alone in these advocacy visits. Even the village head, Mallam Abubakar Isma’il who is the chairman of our committee calls on the families from time to time. I now have the boldness to go from one house to the other in this community because very important members of the community are supporting me. This advocacy has changed their perception.” He said the SBMC advocacy has resulted in increased enrolment from 174 to 237, an additional enrolment of 43 girls and 30 boys.
ESSPIN has supported the formation of SBMCs at nearly 1,000 schools in six states, including over 200 in Kwara State. ESSPIN first supported the formation of a task team which was set up to plan the formation of these committees in four selected local governments of the state. They are made up of staff of the Ministry of Education, the Department of Social Mobilization within the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and selected Civil Society Organizations in the state. The committees are involved with the governance of the primary schools in their community and help to mobilize the community to sort out issues that hinder the smooth running of the schools.
ESSPIN is a six-year programme (2008 – 2014) to support Federal and State governments – Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Lagos initially with Enugu added in 2010 – to develop effective planning, financing and delivery systems that will improve the quality of basic education. SBMCs encourage community participation and boost demand for quality education services. ESSPIN will establish SBMCs or support similar organisations that represent community interests. Initially the focus is on helping these groups to develop skills in monitoring progress with a view to enabling them eventually to play a part in school governance. In order to work closely with communities, ESSPIN partners with Civil Society Organisations.