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Nothing To Justify $75m World Bank Loan To Obaseki’s Govt – Mayaki

THE Country Director, Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa, John Mayaki, who is a former Chief Press Secretary in Edo State, tells DIRISU YAKUBU why the coalition he heads wants the World Bank to evaluate the impact of the $75m (about N40bn) loan given to the Godwin Obaseki-led government to develop the education sector.

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Are you implying the $75m loan has not been well utilised to revamp education in the state?

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In terms of physical and tangible structures, I can tell you that there is virtually nothing to justify the World Bank’s $75m loan facility granted to the Edo State government, and this claim is verifiable. However, it seems that our expectations regarding the deliverables from the total sum of N40bn are at odds with what the state government intended to achieve. Governor Obaseki’s EdoBESST programme and the World Bank loan primarily focus on teachers using scripted lessons on tablets, with the tablets tracking their progress. Learning and development officers provide specific recommendations to teachers, while quality assurance officers supervise and cross-check the overall programme quality.

This is what the N40bn EdoBESST initiative aims to accomplish, but it lacks solid interventions that would significantly impact education outcomes, such as infrastructure and facilities like classrooms, chairs, tables, toilets, libraries, laboratories and sports facilities found in standard or private schools. Spending N40bn without improving schools is questionable.

What is the use of tablets without proper schools? While the Benin Technical College has been rebuilt with support from the Canadian government and other donors during the governor’s seven years in office, other technical schools seem to have been neglected. How does that align with EdoBESST? When examining the performance of Edo State students in examinations, we see impressive results from Deeper Life students and those from Anambra State, without the support of the World Bank or the extravagant codename ‘EdoBESST.’

These students are performing better, making the expenditure of such a substantial sum of N40bn on scripted lessons in tablets without a conducive learning environment unjustifiable. It is puzzling to consider EdoBESST when children of government officials attend private schools.

The first thing that attracts students to attend school is the built environment, infrastructure and facilities, even before discussing teaching methods. The idea of tracking class attendance with EdoBESST is laughable when the school environment itself is not conducive to learning. Therefore, if the N40bn World Bank loan is solely for providing tablets to students in urban areas, it signifies a misplaced priority and a waste of resources.

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