… Suggest measures on school security
By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi
The presence of some important dignitaries that represented government as a policy maker at a stakeholders’ Public Policy Dialogue on Education and Contemporary Security Challenges in the country recently held in Kano has added weight and encouraged all the participants to remain glued to what was going on from beginning to the end of the exercise.
Key stakeholders, like commissioners, permanent secretaries, Directors General, Managing Directors, Executive Chairmen, Executive Secretaries, directors (both serving and retired) and other senior public servants were patiently listening and contributing to the progress of the event.
Other stakeholders, like the civil society organisations, traditional title holders, the media and development partners have aided the event to become a success story.
The Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a UKaid-FCDO programme has supported the event which was ran for two days. The theme of the event: ‘Implication of Insecurity in the Development of Education Sector in Kano State’ was carefully chosen to sensitise people in the community on the dangers of the ugly situation.
The objectives of the exercise, as read by Hajiya Mairo Bello, the Chief Executive Officer of Adolescent Health and Information Projects (AHIP), were to expand consultations and discussions with relevant stakeholders on the effects of insecurity on the educational system towards ensuring safe and protective learning environment that would increase access, attendance, reduce truancy, enhance retention and completion.
Another objective, according to Mrs. Bello, was to deepen discussions on the outcomes of the citizens’ dialogue and explore deliberations on policies associated with education and security.
Some of the civil society organisations that made valid contributions are KaLMA, Free and Compulsory Basic Primary Education (FCBPE), Partnership for Learning for All in Nigeria (PLANE) and Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA).
One of the key stakeholders at the event, the state commissioner of education, Malam Sunusi Sa’idu Kiru, used the forum to highlight extensively on the giant strides made by the state administration, under the leadership of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in many areas that have to do with educational sector in the state.
Malam Kiru explained that the state government has expended a total of not less than N150 million in two weeks on school feeding alone not to talk of other responsibilities in the sector, explaining further that there are some challenges facing his ministry such as stagnation of officers on certain grade levels.
The commissioner disclosed that currently there are over 280 sit-in directors … Suggest measures on school security with over 80 directors under the ministry, hinting that the ministry, under his watch, was looking at every possible solution where they intend to make some adjustments in order to open more chances for the officers to reach more peaks in their careers.
On free and compulsory education policy in the state, the commissioner stated that he did not rest on his oars in seeking the support of traditional institution in the state where he went round all the five Emirates to sensitise the citizens on the new policy, which he said requires huge amount of money and sensitisation.
Malam Kiru, who told the gathering on a new initiative he developed on the creation of a new agency, Education Development Funds, said in this year alone, six new girl schools were built, in addition to efforts towards construction of Girls Day ICT Secondary School, which the government proposed to spend over N279 million on its project.
He hinted on the provision of Hafsat Abdullahi Umar Ganduje Girl Secondary School, adding that already a Girl’s Science Secondary School has been provided at Ganduje town, pointing out that already they have done everything possible with World Bank to build 75 junior secondary schools across the state, reiterating that in the next one month, the construction of the schools would start.
He also hinted that in collaboration with the World Bank, about 900 schools would be renovated soon across the state as agreed upon.
While expressing displeasure over the handling of examination issues by the state Education Resources Department (KERD), he said already a memo was sent to the state Executive Council on the creation of an independent examination agency that would take care of examination issues.
He said part of effort to address issues surrounding examination, such as Common Entrance and Transitional Examinations, they have institutionalized that henceforth all students must have NIN numbers. Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, former Secretary to the State Government, Engr. Rabiu Suleiman Bichi, who doubles as the Executive Chairman of the state Policy Strategy, Implementation and Evaluation, Government House, Kano, reminded teachers on the importance of their profession, which he said, they should be proud of. Engr. Bichi, a former Managing Director of Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, whom he said he was very fashionate about education, said the state executive was contributing immensely to seeing how the challenges militating against the sector could be solved.
According to him, the state government is much concerned about education, saying that because of its concern, it took proactive measures to ensure security around schools, noting that almost all the border schools, to include tertiary instructions, were closed for security and safety of the students. According to him, it is high time for all and sundry to come in to assist the government in doing the right things about education.
“Let the participants brainstorm and discuss extensively and come out with solution to change the narrative. Many people see education as a problem. Then which one is which – education or lack of it – which one is it causing the problem?” He asked.
He called for a practical solution from the participants towards helping the government to start going in enhancing the education sector in the state. Engr. Bichi, who said closing of border schools by the state government was part of measures taken to avoid pushing the students to dangers of kidnapping or insecurity, pledged that they would do their best in seeing that the outcomes of the dialogue are implemented by the state government.
He also said the door is open for all the citizens of the state wishing to contribute in the development of education in the state. Giving a climate setting about PERL, its State Team Leader, Malam Isah Surajo, said the story of his organisation was that of change, saying the organization was all out to see service delivery on the part of government.
“Government should be able to account and respond to the demands of its citizens,” said he, adding that they render support to the government to enable it deliver evidence-based services, which the government could do so by ensuring inclusive and realistic budget, he added.
He said they support the government in three major areas, namely; education – where partnership is strengthened between the citizens and the government; health – where they strengthen monitoring and evaluation and the last but not the least, open societies – strengthening OGP action plan, SFTAS – to support the government get more revenue to fund education and health in the state.
On the topic: education and security, Malam Surajo, said the focus was on social security, economic security, drug abuse, kidnapping and banditry, describing all to be part of insecurity, asking the participants to explore ways out of the problems during the dialogue, stressing that without security, the general condition in the society would be bad.
On her part, the Regional Manager of FCDO, Hajiya Nafisa Ado, said she was so overwhelmed with the participants at the event, stressing the need for them to call for a review of the nation’s basic education for inclusion. Ado advocated that sign language should be part of the curriculum.
She commended the state government for its support to her organization, reiterating that the state is one of those they get the most support, commending it further for being inclusive of people with impairment. On his part, the chairman of the State Basic Education Board, Dr. Dallami Hayyo said there are 3.8 million children in both primary and secondary schools currently as against the previous figure of one million, saying that close to N13 billion has so far been spent on construction and renovation of classrooms by the board Also, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Malam Dansabo Tsoho Idi, who is in charge of Operations, represented the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone One that comprises Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States. He appreciated the security situation in Kano and Jigawa States.
He linked the successes recorded in the area of security in Kano State to the uprightness of the Ganduje administration as it took proactive measures to tackle the menace.
According to him, proactive measures to be taken to sustain the tempo are meeting with stakeholders at the local levels through their security committees; partnership between local police, that is, Divisional Police Officers, and local vigilante in the areas to patrol vulnerable schools; and using undercover police who report undercover on any issue they sense out to counter such move.
He thanked the Federal Government for its effort in boosting the morale of the police by giving them waiver to recruit 10,000 for 2020 and another 10,000 for 2021, saying that the recruitment was ongoing, explaining that the effort would boost manpower in the police.
Others who spoke at the occasion held at Bristol Hotel in Kano were Dr. Ibrahim Ahmad Bichi of the state Library Board; Dr. Kabiru Shehu, former Head of Service and Special Adviser on Free and Compulsory Basic Primary Education in the state; Dr. Auwalu Halilu, coordinator of CSACEFA; Alhaji Sani Zango; Hajiya Ladi of Mother’s Association; Falakin Bichi and former Permanent Secretary Establishment at the Office of the state Head of Civil Service, Alhaji Abba Wada Waziri; Alhaji Tijjani Haladu Baraya, School Based Management Committee chairman in the state; Dr. Kabiru Hamisu Kura among others.
Also present at the event were the state Commissioner for Planning and Budget, Alhaji Nura Muhammad Dankadai; Special Adviser to the state Governor on Non-Governmental Organizations, Hajiya Yardada Maikano Bichi; the Vice Chancellor of Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Prof. Mukhtar Atiku Kurawa represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration of the university, Dr. A. S. Garba and the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Education, Hajiya Lauratu Ado Diso.
Others were the Executive Secretary of the state Senior Secondary Schools Management Board, Dr. Bello Shehu; his counterpart of Science and Technical Schools Management Board, Alhaji Ahmad Tijjani Abdullahi, represented by a director of the board, Malam Salisu Auwalu; the Executive Secretary of the state Islamiyya and Qur’anic Schools Management Board, Gwani Yahuza Gwani Danzarga; and the Executive Secretary of the state Agency for Mass Education, Dr. Halima Rabiu respectively.