The Edo State Universal Basic Education Board on Tuesday at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy, said it has grown enrolment of children into the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) to 374, 000 in the last one year.

The executive chairperson of Edo SUBEB, Ozavize Salami, made this known in Benin City during the basic education stakeholders’ engagement session that involved principals, headteachers and education secretaries from Edo South Senatorial District.

In the technical engagement session with the education stakeholders in Edo State, Salami, stressed on the need to sustain the EdoBEST initiative, as well as boost learning outcomes, “The EdoBEST is not an Obaseki initiative, he may have started it but it is up to us to continue it.

“Let us in the education sector own it, and say this is something we want to do,” Ozavize said.

Salami, who explained that the enrolment figure was a testament to the efforts by the state government to address out-of-school, noted that Edo ranks lowest in the country in out-of-school children.

She assured that there is still a drive to reduce the out-of-school number, as well as improve foundational learning in schools.

She further emphasized that it is important for children to have foundational learning because it lays the foundation for future learning and development, reduces the achieved gap between children from different backgrounds, ensures students acquire the skills and knowledge needed to compete in the global economy.

“There shouldn’t be any child that is not in school. Over the last one year, we have grown the enrolment of children in our EdoBEST program to 374,000 children. So, we do not have an out-of-school problem.

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“But we know that even around the world, focus is not only being drawn to schooling. Are they learning in school? Are we equipping them with the skills that they need to have better life options.

“We have done the foundation of EdoBEST programme and we need to check whether the children are actually learning. In the last five years, attention has been paid to Key Performance Indicators, such as school leaders’ attendance, teacher attendance and pupil attendance but more focus will now be given to the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms,” she added.

Addressing the participants, she said a similar engagement was recently held in Edo North and Edo Central Senatorial districts with the aim of briefing school leaders on the data on attendance, lesson completion rate and to intimate them on the implication on learning outcomes among students and school Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

“We also let them know that as the basic education reform progresses, the focus now is on actual learning in classrooms. How well are our children taught?

“There is a global drive now to eliminate foundational literacy and we have a lot of supports from our international partners such as the World Bank or Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the accelerator programme,” she said.

To sustain the EdoBEST programme, the SUBEB boss said the state government has supported teachers with teacher professional development opportunities, online certification courses and in-service training for teachers, pedagogy coordinators.

On his part, Nosa Erhahon, Education Secretary of Egor council commended the board for organizing the event, assuring that they will work assiduously to improve learning outcomes of children.