By Sunusi Usaini Madobi
The roles played by education in societal technological advancement, social cohesion, political stability and economic prosperity make all wise governments to see it as imperative to invest heavily in the sector.
According to recommendation by the United National International Education Fund (UNICEF) education should be given a priority by all government of the nations of the world in their various budgets. That is to say that the sector should receive a lion’s share in the budget document.
UNICEF recommended provision of 25 per cent of the total budget to education sector alone, leaving the remaining 75 per cent of it to other sectors to share among themselves according to priority consideration.
In Jigawa State, the government, under the leadership of Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, has complied with the UNICEF proposal. It even exceeded the international body’s recommendation by allocating over 32 per cent of this year’s budget to the educational sector, which is beyond the union’s bench mark.
The state Ministry of Education, under the charismatic leadership of Dr. Lawan Yunusa Dan Zomo, remains vibrant, workaholic and committed, toward the provision of qualitative and functional education from basic to tertiary level, across the 287 political wards in the state. This commitment is intended to produce functional literate citizens who could add value to the state.
The introduction of series of programmes under the ministry through the provision of additional schools ranging from senior to junior and primary schools was aimed at accommodating the teeming number of students due to population growth in the state.
What made the administration stand out was the construction of additional classrooms, provision of learning materials and science equipment in addition to the training and re-training of teachers in modern teaching trend under the ministry.
Again, payment of counterpart funding to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which made it possible for the state to access the commission’s fund and creating an enabling environment across the 27 local government areas of the state must be counted part of the milestones of the ministry within the period under review.
Recently, the ministry has recruited 4,500 teachers under the J.Teach programmes after rigorous scrutiny to select best hands. The recruited ones have already been posted to junior secondary and primary schools to teach. This initiative is intended to enhance teachers-pupils ratio.
Monitoring and supervision are among the cardinal objectives of educational development. Therefore, the ministry has embarked on inspection and supervision of schools to access performance in addition of paying homage to traditional institutions in the state to solicit for their support aimed at achieving the desired objectives to educate pupils so that they could become literate and contribute their quota towards national development.
At tertiary level, the state university, namely Sule Lamido University Kafin Hausa; College of Education Gumel and Jigawa State Polytechnic, Dutse, have all received the needed boost. Also, the state facilitates the execution of multi-billion Naira project at the state university from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
Additional mega school is currently being constructed in Dutse at the old Dutse market. The school is built with the state of the art facilities comprising several classes, library, science laboratory, game facilities and several other things to make teaching and learning easier.
Several teachers were stagnant on Grade Level 15 for couple of years in the ministry, but with the coming of the present administration, such teachers were promoted to G.L 16, to enable them enjoy the grade level. This has encouraged the beneficiaries to work tirelessly to take the sector to a greater height.
The Basic Education Service Delivery for All, popularity known as BESDA, a World Bank-funded programme, equally renders support to the state to enhance its educational development through the encouragement of drop-outs to go back to schools.
This includes intensive mobilization and sensitization at media institution, provision of textbook for learning research and development, in addition to series of trainings organized for teaching and non teaching staff.
The appointment of competent and credible education secretaries with the minimum qualification of Bachelors of Education in 27 Local Education Authorities (LEAs) after series of interviews, equally contributed to the development of the sector at basic level. Now it has good hands managing the sector across all the local areas.
In the year 2021 alone, 150 female students were sponsored to study Medicine at the Republic of Sudan and all the students are bounded to serve in the state for couple of years after graduation. It was the first set sponsored who studied Medicine in China and are currently undergoing their housemanship in various hospitals in the country.
The state has equally created a conducive atmosphere for donor agencies and development partners to work in the state, especially in the area of training and re-training of teachers to boost their capacity, competence and morale across the three Senatorial zones of the state.
Moreover, the state governor chaired the educational sector meeting held at Government House to discuss issues of importance in the sector.
The cordial relationship existing between the Federal University Dutse and the state is indeed commendable, in addition, the Federal Government has approved the establishment of the Federal University of Technology Babura, the Federal College of Agriculture, Kiri Kasama and the Federal College of Education Birnin Kudu aimed at faciliting educational growth and development not only in the state, but the nation at large.
Madobi wrote in from Dutse, Jigawa State.