Free and Compulsory Education Ranks High on Ganduje’s Agenda

Abdullahi Umar Ganduje

Ibrahim Shuaibu writes that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has identified education as a major driver to shape the legacy of his administration in its second tenure

Since he was returned to office for a second term, by popular vote, Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has recorded tremendous positive results in the primary and secondary education sector.

The free and compulsory education project was launched by the Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo. The event was witnessed by important dignitaries from within and outside the country who declared their total support for the state government’s efforts to overcome this challenge of Almajiris roaming the streets.

Ganduje may have succeeded in working out modalities to ensure that the Almajiri system of education is woven into the conventional Western education learning curriculum, designed to take the Almajiris off the street as beggars and also give them sound and adequate education that can give them access to quality and qualitative education.

According to the Governor, the objective of the summit was to discuss, analyze, and generate ideas towards the implementation of the vision for free and compulsory basic and secondary education in the state.

“On the assumption of office for a second term on the 29th of May, 2019, we made a policy statement and commitment to provide free and compulsory education from primary to senior secondary level. This is in recognition of the pivotal role of education as the primary agent of change in our society.

“It is disturbing to note from available statistics that Nigeria has over 10.5 million out-of-school children, it is also more alarming to note that 60 percent of that figure represents the girl-child.

“Also, eight million of those out-of-school children are in 10 northern states of Nigeria with Kano having the lion share. Regrettably, available figures indicate that over three million of these out-of-school children are in Kano.

“However, a recent survey revealed that most of these children are Almajiris from other northern states and children from the Republic of Niger, Chad and northern part of Cameroon.”

Ganduje further called for regional coordination and legislation that will enable the control of the influx of Almajiris from neighbouring countries and also from one state to another.

He added to tackle the challenge, “This government has set up a committee to conduct a census of all out-of-school children with a view to update the available data and ensure adequate planning in preparation for the implementation of this all-important education policy.

” This will further consolidate the commitment of government to the ‘Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), a UNICEF programme which aims at ensuring equitable access to basic education for out-of-school children.”

Ganduje also revealed that plans are on the way to streamline about 13, 619 Qur’anic schools with 2.5 million pupils across the state and integrate them into the free and compulsory education programme, adding that already, the government has set up Qur’anic and Islamiyyah Schools Management Board.

He further stated that in line with the free and compulsory basic and secondary school education, his administration has commenced direct funding of primary and secondary schools numbering 1180 with a total student population of 834, 366 at a total cost of about N200 million per month or N2.4 billion per annum.

He added that, “Similarly, the government has provided school uniforms to 779, 522 newly enrolled pupils (boys and girls) at the total cost of N381 million. In a bid to reduce teaching deficiency in the sector, government is in the process of engaging 3000 volunteer teachers to teach in the various public and Quranic schools across the state.

“Other challenges inherent in this policy include massive rehabilitation and construction of new classrooms, provision of instructional materials, training and restraining of teachers, provision of instructional materials, provision of water, toilets, and electricity in schools and strengthening of our Institutions quality assurance.”

The Governor of Kano state has also sent a bill to the State House of Assembly, seeking for a law that will back the arrest and prosecution of parents who refused to take their children to school.

Within the last 100 days, Kano state Governor has also been able to set up a Committee that will see to the establishment of one of the largest RUGA settlement in Africa at Falgore forest.

Ganduje said he took the step to contribute his quota in putting to rest the controversy generated by the Federal Government RUGA proposal across the country; make the Fulani herdsmen economically viable; boost Kano’s economic potentials; end the farmers/herders clash and as well modernize the cattle rearing and insemination business.

Within the first 100 days period, Ganduje succeeded in creating four additional emirates of Bichi, Rano, Karaye, Gaya by increasing the emirate to five including Kano emirate led by Muhammad Sanusi II.

The Governor’s motive for the creation of additional emirate is to bring the traditional institution closer to the common man and improve the traditional heritage of the state.

Another achievement of the Ganduje administration is boosting supply of portable water. Over N300 million has been committed in less than two months of his second-term administration to this important service.

The administration is also targeting N300 million monthly revenue generation from the state water board.

While these appear very commendable, Kanawas are now anxious to see the formation of his cabinets which is yet to be announced. From all indications, some former commissioners who served in his first term will be reappointed because of their good record and contribution to the development of the state.