Kano state government has, in the past 18 months, accessed N1.75 billion Universal Basic Education (UBEC) “counterpart funds” to renovate classroom blocks, build libraries, sink boreholes and provide 15,000 pupils’ furniture, among other educational facilities.
The state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, disclosed this in a speech at an interactive meeting with head teachers, at the Government House in Kano, as part of the Kano Basic Education Week.
He said the move was necessary, because his administration inherited dilapidated and inadequate classrooms, insufficient toilet facilities and only some furniture. He lamented the availability of only 198, 832 pupils’ desks in public schools as against the needed 914,000.
“In addition to all these, instructional materials are inadequate, while staff morale was at its lowest ebb and, as a matter of fact, about 50% of the teachers were unqualified!” the governor further bewailed.
To address the issue squarely, he maintained that Education Promotion Committees were established in the state, saying from the N440 million released by the state government to the committees, 490 blocks consisting 981 classrooms and 1 block of two classrooms were rehabilitated, while 7,915 3-seater desks and various instructional materials were provided.
He also stated that besides the amount, which was released for one year, local communities contributed over N800 that was also utilized in executing infrastructural development in many schools across the state.
“Apart from what government provided for the EPCs, various communities contributed the sum of N811,533,981, which was used to execute the rehabilitation of 151 blocks of 301 classrooms, construction of 291 classrooms, provision of 6,985 3-seater pupils’ desks and various other such facilities as boreholes and instructional materials,” the governor explained.
In order to raise the morale of the teachers, he stated that prompt payment of their salaries and allowances was effected, stressing that between January to December of 2016, over N31 billion was paid to 60,000 teaching and non-teaching staff as salaries and allowances.
The governor also pointed out that his administration has accorded priority to teachers’ capacity building through workshops and further training, while plans were in the pipeline to effect their promotions, which have been stalled for some years.
In his remarks, the state Deputy Governor, who is also the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, said the week was organized “to underscore the importance of basic education not only as the bedrock of all levels of education, but also affirm the need for community participation in the spirit of ‘education for all: a responsibility for all,’ ” which was the theme of the week.
Some head-teachers and stakeholders, including Prof. Aisha Abdul Isma’il, Prof. M.B. Shitu, Kabiru Fagge and Sani Umar Mika’il, stressed the need for the state government to pay more attention to girl-child education, teachers’ welfare and the provision of toilet facilities in highly populated schools.