It is not because he is one of the intellectuals in the state but because of his passion for the sector. This is why Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is embarking on massive revolution of education in Kano state as BASHIR MOHAMMED writes.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state had a date with history when he launched free and compulsory education programme on Tuesday September 3, 2019 in a high-profile event that had in attendance the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, ministers, academics and members of the diplomatic corps especially those of Britain, UAE, Saudi-Arabia, France and the United States.
The event, was to Gov Ganduje, an epoch-making one as he was lavishly praised by the diplomatic corps, most especially Britain and the United States who expressed the determination of their respective countries at supporting the state in order to forge ahead in consolidating the laudable academic programmes the state government has in the offing.
Accolades from the diplomatic corps
The British government had, through its High Commissioner to Nigeria, assured the Ganduje administration of the resolve of its Department of International Development (DFID) to spend millions of Pound Sterling on the consolidation of various academic intervention schemes in the years to come, on the ground that it was impressed with the monumental feats his administration achieved on ground.
In the same vein, France, Saudi-Arabia and the United Stated through their respective envoys, also pledged to tread the path of the United Kingdom in supporting Kano’s drive in the sector through funding in years to come. On its part, the Saudi Arabian government announced that it had sponsored over 400 Nigerians to pursue various academic programmes abroad.
Gov’t would address out-of-school children menace – Adamu
The minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu, delivered his good will message by showering accolades on Governor Ganduje for taking the bull by the horns in setting the pace for a far-reaching educational reform that injects some semblances of sanity into a system that was in dire need of urgent surgical excision.
According to him, there is a compelling need for governors in the country to rise to the gruelling challenge of addressing the disturbing phenomenon of out-of-school children whose future must be guaranteed and well-secured for the country to excel in the global academic age, pointing out that the issue of consolidating the drive for a free and compulsory basic primary education was an abiding responsibility that must not be shirked.
He said, “I have visited so many countries across the globe and attended various conferences on education and took a stock of the measures they have taken to excel academically; I want to stress that if such measures were replicated in this country, the goals of turning the education sector around would undoubtedly be achieved.
“The federal government is ever ready to spend huge resources on education for the country to attain the height of greatness. We have the much-needed potentials to forge ahead and the effort needed is a collective resolve. No responsible government would love to take the transformation of the education sector with a pinch of salt. This government is ever willing to effect a clear paradigm shift,” he affirmed.
Osinbajo lauds move
However, with the historic launch of the free and compulsory basic primary and secondary education in Kano at the instance of Gov Ganduje with the support of the diplomatic corps, the vice president, who also added colour to the event, delivered a heart-rending executive remark and commended the governor for speedily launching the programme as directed by the president.
Osinbajo called on Nigerians to use human capital in forging the quest for national development saying developing and harnessing human resources is a responsibility that must be shouldered in achieving the goals of economic prosperity.
He said in the competitive global economic space, a country like Nigeria has to strive to face the gruelling challenges of keeping its head above water.
According to him, “The acquisition of the much needed skills in attaining the enviable height of economic prosperity require supporting the drive for educating the bulk of the entire population of Nigeria being the centre-piece of the needed ideas and innovations that would be geared towards effecting a speedy economic revolution that can stand the test of time.”
He said Nigeria had been abundantly blessed with the much needed potentials of calling the shots in the comity of nations which if properly harnessed could greatly reduce the reliance on crude oil in order to attend to the needs and exigencies of critical infrastructure.
He, however, stated that the federal government has made it a matter of policy to come up with new innovations on addressing the huge deficit in according free and compulsory education to millions of Nigerians reeling in the ropes of excruciating ignorance. He affirmed that the home-grown feeding programme introduced by President Buhari’s administration has positively impacted on 32 states of the federation, feeding about eight million pupils.
“We need a positive conspiracy in joining the crusade for educating the populace with due emphasis on the girl-child education. In Nigeria today, we have at least 170 universities operating. In this year alone, about 90,000 students have graduated and forced into the labour market. In fact, this trend is highly regrettable and disturbing.
“What we need is the strong desire and will for skills acquisition and entrepreneurial revolution that can create the leeway for our country to scale the present hurdles. There was the compelling need for a collective resolve on the part of every Nigerian to ensure that our vast human treasure is properly harnessed and effectively exploited,” he added.
Legislation on compulsory education underway- Ganduje
Speaking earlier, Governor Ganduje said his administration had effected far reaching reforms and giant strides in ensuring a speedy and sustainable transformation of the education sector stressing that the concept of free and compulsory basic primary and secondary education was aimed at accommodating the over one million out-of-school children roaming the streets of Kano.
He said his administration had spent the sum of N300m on the purchase of uniforms for new pupils enrolled in both primary and secondary schools in addition to abolishing school fees being charge in public schools across the 44 local government areas adding that a legislation is currently in the pipeline for the goals of free and compulsory education to be effectively consolidated.
“In order to ensure maximum access to education by all, government has abolished payment of school fees in all public secondary schools with effect from September 2019. Accordingly, government has commenced the direct funding of such schools numbering 1,180 with a total population of 834, 366 at a total cost of about 200m per month or N2.4bn per annum,” he remarked.
“In view of this daunting challenge, this government has set up a committee to conduct a census of all out of school children with a view to updating the available data and ensure adequate planning in preparation for the implementation of this all-important education policy,” he stressed.
Almajiri phenomenon is an insult on gov’t –Guest lecturer
According to Dr Bashir Shehu Galadanci, a senior lecturer in the Department of Information Technology, Bayero University, Kano, who presented the lead paper, Gov Ganduje deserves a pat on the back as far as turning the fortune of education in the state was concerned. He added that education consolidation should be the pride of every state governor.
According to him, the lack of funding and recognition of the Tsangaya and Almajiris education system by government all over the country was responsible for the rot in the system, positing that in countries like Bangaladesh, Egypt, Sudan and many more, the concept of Tsangaya and Almajiri system of education is incorporated into the conventional education system for uniformity.
He said it is regrettable for the Almajiris to be scavenging for food in the refuse dumps which he said is also a bad omen for Nigeria in the present democratic age, pointing out that incorporating the system into the conventional system of education would be the best way for them to have a sense of belonging.
It was however, the contention of major stakeholders in the sector that Kano is on the road to achieving unprecedented greatness and consolidating excellence in the sector thereby requiring the attention of any state government.