By Malam Muhammad Garba
Gearing up to the re-opening of schools as the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic gradually dies down, Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Sunday, August 30, displayed his unwavering passion for good governance when he distributed over N880,922,432,38 to Community Promotion Council (CPC), across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state for the rehabilitation of primary schools. The CPC was mandated to ensure that the work is done within a period of three weeks.
During the elaborate ceremony held at the Indoor Sports Hall, Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofar Mata, Ganduje who spoke before eminent dignitaries and stakeholders in the education sector who came from across the globe, assured that his administration would continue to finance education being the bedrock for societal development. He emphasized that, “it is because of the importance we attach to this sector that our budgetary provision for education is over 26 percent.”
In that occasion, each Local Government branch of CPC received the sum of N20 Million for the renovation of selected primary schools across the state. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Ganduje’s administration has demonstrated the political will to ensure that every child in Kano state has unhindered access to basic education.
This explains the reason why there is high level of community participation towards the development of education in the state, as good spirited Kano citizens who have the interest of the state at heart have continued to show support to Ganduje’s giant strides in the education sector.
Governor Ganduje’s zeal and passion to develop education in Kano state is highly showcased in the budgetary allocation in 2020 which is well over 26 percent, of which five percent of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and five percent of the Local Government statutory allocation are part of it.
More so, the entire size of the Education Trust Fund is judiciously being invested for what it is meant for. The Ganduje’s administration is making all this effort to ensure that the Kano child has quality education. It is, however, important to note that education development is a must for the overall development of our state. The state government is also making good use of the Federal Statutory funds and other grants from development partners for the development of primary and basic education which has been long declared free and compulsory in the state.
One will, however, not be surprised at the avalanche of accolades and praises coming from notable world leaders who have sincerely hailed Ganduje’s giant strides in the education sector. Apart from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Education, Prof. Adamu Adamu, who at different fora, in recent times, blew Ganduje’s trumpet over his uncommon achievements in education, several other world leaders and representatives of International NGOs and development partners, such as DFID, UNICEF, World Bank, among others, have also continued to show their appreciation and admiration to Ganduje’s style of leadership and dispensation of democratic dividends, overwhelmingly, in the education sector.
Indeed, Ganduje’s revolution in the basic and secondary school education sector has earned him commendations from all over the world. Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, France, United States of America (USA) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among others, have indicated their interest to work with the Kano state government towards the success of this project.
No wonder that at the ceremony last Sunday, one of the foremost world leaders, the Queen of England, Elizabeth 11, commended Ganduje’s effort in education, describing the commitment as encouraging and commendable. The Queen who spoke through the representative of the Department for International Development (DFID), Nafisa Ado, said, “Kano is really doing well in protecting the rights of children with her free and compulsory primary and secondary education policy. On behalf of Her Majesty, the Queen of England, we are commending Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for investing rightly in education.
“We will consistently partner with the state government in this direction. While we strengthen the capacity of our communities through our education and governance programs, we shall maintain our support to the state. The Queen of England will continue its support. From 31 August, the name DFID will be replaced by FCDO. That is the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.”
Recall that in the first week of September last year, stakeholders in the basic education sector across the globe gathered at Coronation Hall, Kano Government House where the two-day Stakeholders Summit on Free and Compulsory Basic Education took place.Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Education, Prof. Adamu Adamu; former Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, top politicians, members of the diplomatic corps, foreign ambassadors and representatives of the international community were present at the epoch-making event, which kick-started the revolution being witnessed in the basic and primary education sector.
Few months ago, the funding component of the Free and Compulsory Basic and Secondary Education in the state waslaunched at the Sani Abacha Stadium Indoor Sports Hall. During that event, Ganduje distributed cash to over 110,000 schools across the state designed to enable them build capacity and human resource development.
Governor Ganduje alsodistributed 790 Digital Classroom All Inclusive Empowerment Solutionand Tablets to 728 teachers, 39 Master Teachers, nine Senior Secondary School Officers and 14 Principal Officers. The programme was aimed at capacity building towards free and compulsory education on School Development Plan (SDP) and ICT appreciation for directors and zonal education directors
More so, the free and compulsory basic and secondary education policy has necessitatedmassive rehabilitation and construction of new class rooms, provision of instructional materials, training and restraining of teachers,provision of water, toilets and electricity in schools and strengthening of our Institutions quality assurance.
In line with the free and compulsory basic and secondary school education policy, Ganduje’s administration has commenced direct funding of primary and secondary schools numbering 1180 with a total students population of 834, 366 at a total cost of about N200 million per month or N2.4 billion per annum. Furthermore, Ganduje has budgeted N357 million to take care of free-feeding for pupils in primary four to six classes in all primary schools across the state.
Similarly, the government has provided school uniforms to 779, 522 newly enrolled pupils (boys and girls) at the total cost of N381 million. Governor Ganduje flagged off the distribution of the school uniforms and other instructional materials at Mariri Special Primary School in Kumbotso Local Government Area last year. In a bid to reduce teaching deficiency in the education sector, the state government has engaged 3000 volunteer teachers to teach in the various public and Qur’anic schools across the state.
The most beautiful aspect of Ganduje’s policy on free and compulsory basic education is the re-modeling of the Almajiri education system. About 650 special teachers have been recruited by the Ganduje’s administration to teach the Almajiris English, Mathematics and other conventional subjects even as theycontinue with Quranic education. Today in Kano, Almajiris who hitherto flood the streets in tattered clothes are now provided with free school uniforms and instructional materials to learn in school just like their peers. This has not only solved the problem of nuisance constituted by the Almajiris when they roam the street begging during school hours, it will also change the worldviews of these hapless children and at the end, give them a sense of belonging in the society.
Already, the Kano state government has commenced the streamlining of about 13, 619 Ouaranic schools with 2.5 million pupils across the state and integrating them into the free and compulsory education programme. The state government has also set up the Quaranic and Islamiyah Schools Management Board.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the implementation of free and compulsory basic and secondary education in the state for all children has reached a commendable stage. Though very expensive, considering the huge amount of money involved, Ganduje believes that there is no better time to lay a strong foundation for the future of Kano children, than now; and this must be done by ensuring that every Kano child has unhindered access to free and compulsory education.
This explains why he made it a cardinal aspect of his policy thrust in the Next Level agenda of his administration. During his inaugural speech on May 29, 2019, he promised Kano parents that they will no longer spend money on purchasing uniforms, learning materials, feeding during school hours and school fees for their children. All that they need to do is to encourage their children to go to school and learn. This promise has been fulfilled by Governor Ganduje.
Today in Kano, compulsory, free primary and basic education policy has become a success story. Indeed, there is no better way to build a better future and ensure that tomorrow will be better than today for our children who are no doubt leaders of the generation to come, than to create a solid foundation that is built on the bedrock of quality and qualitative education policy that can stand the test of time. This is Ganduje’s goal—- a goal he is pursuing with passion, a goal he is getting. Now that this policy has received the blessings and commendation of the revered Queen of England, Governor Ganduje is encouraged to do even more.