By Nasir Dambatta
Today, the 5th of October 2023 is commemorated each year, across the globe as World Teachers Day. It was a brilliant one from the joint effort of United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) in alliance with International Labour Organization( ILO).
Given the significance of teachers’ contributions to the improvement of the education system and producing the professionals that run all institutions and people in the modern world, the UNESCO/ ILO recommendations on the status of teachers were adopted on 5th October 1966.
Latest media reports showed UNESCO’s citation that the total of out-of-school children (OSC) in Nigeria is more than 20 million, whereas the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) states it is slightly above 10 million. UNESCO’s data is based on those within the age bracket of six to 18 years, across Primary One to Senior Secondary School Three, while UBEC’s figure is related to those within six to 11 years. Both are worrisome.
Nigerian stakeholders in the education sector have been continuously unsettled by the number out-of-school children, despite efforts at various levers of governance to stem the tide.
In Kaduna, Governor Uba Sani has left no stone unturned in his pet dream of boosting literacy levels in the State. One of the key points of his SUSTAIN Agenda is giving the badly-needed institutional push, to the war against low literacy levels in Kaduna. He is bent on increasing the number of classrooms, in partnership with international donor agencies. This should make for a very friendly learning environment for both teachers and their pupils/students. Recall that his administration has lowered the cost of school fees in the state-owned tertiary institutions and university, in order to up the ante of enrollments and ease the burden of parents in Kaduna.
On the eve of the World Teachers Day, Senator Uba Sani received a delegation of elders at the Sir Kashim Government House, who were there to demonstrate their willingness to join hands with government in moving the State forward.
He reportedly said that his administration has embarked on the construction of over sixty-two new secondary schools through a $28 million Kuwaiti fund to address the classroom deficit in Kaduna State.
This is a no mean feat, considering the essence of education in the socio-economic advancement of the country. It is also an indication that the governor means business.
The governor’s meeting with Kaduna senior citizens, made him open up on the 680,000 out-of-school children in the State. Describing the figure as “unacceptable” the governor tasked all relevant stakeholders to support the government in reversing the trend. Doing so, he told the senior citizens during the visit, would enable the state to make “meaningful progress in the fight against insecurity, illiteracy and building a better future.”
One takeaway from the governor’s standpoint on the renewed efforts to tackle low literacy level in the State, was his reference to the link between low literacy levels and the spread of urban crime. In truth, the nexus between low literacy levels and soaring crime rate is unmistakable. Most of the criminals in the urban areas are either school dropouts of from homes where the poverty level denied them access to functional education. The factors are all there, that lack of proper parental training, leading to lack of access to functional education has continued to breed young people with propensity to heinous crimes.
The governor’s reference to lack of access to functional education leading to abuse of dangerous drugs, explains the current soaring crime rates in Kaduna.
With his clear-thinking approach to serious developmental challenges stemming from the troubled educational sector in the State, Governor Uba Sani looks set to provide a more viable solution. His practical approach to a nagging problem that gave birth to multidimensional challenges, is definitely helpful to the journey for a more enlightened Kaduna State.
On this occasion of the World Teachers Day, Kaduna State Government’s move to tackle the problem of some 680,000 out-of-school children, provide comfortable teaching environment; confront soaring urban crime rates associated culture of drug abuse, we can only pray it succeeds. And once it does, the dream of Kaduna people – for the dawn of a new, bold era would have become a living reality.
Dambatta is Senior Special Assistant (Print Media) to the Governor of Kaduna State