By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed has commended the Federal Government for the establishment of a zonal model school for the North East in Bauchi, describing it as a fruit of good engagement between the two of governments.
He said, “Another outcome of my engagement with the Federal Government was when the government through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) concretize for the sighting and establishment of a zonal model school for the North East in Bauchi”.
The Governor was speaking at the flag-off of distribution of materials to Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) learning centres/UBEC instructional materials and commissioning of 2019 UBEC/SUBEB Intervention Project of better education institutions held in Bauchi weekend.
Senator Bala Mohammed enumerated other educational intervention of the Federal government in Bauchi that included the establishment of Second Chance Model School for out of school married women in the state.
These, he said, were in addition to the state government’s collaboration with the North East Development Commission (NEDC) in which 20 Mega Blocks Storey Buildings were constructed, one in each of the twenty Local Government Area of Bauchi state.
The Governor also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and Universal Basic Education Commission for giving Bauchi all the support, and even looking retrospectively to give the state some matching grants that it had hitherto lost to take it where it is today.
Governor Bala Mohammed revealed that his administration had so far expanded the sum of N8.5 billion for the implementation and execution of educational policies and programmes which involves the construction and renovation of 864 blocks of classrooms, translating into 2413 classes across the twenty Local Government Areas of the state.
He explained that as a reward for the outstanding performance of Bauchi state in the 2017/2018 and 2019 intervention projects, particularly in the payment of counterpart fund, UBEC has forwarded the state’s basic education board’s 2020 and 2021 Federal statutory allocation of matching grant to the tune of 1,661,720,779.60.
Bala explained that the state government at the take-off of BESDA project in the state, provided learning materials worth N53 million which were distributed to LEAs, and other basic materials such as temporary sheds, toilet facilities, uniforms, blankets, boxes, chalks, students register, textbooks, school record books, writing materials, among others, worth N900 million to pupils in learning centres to ensure enabling learning environment.
“In the same vein, the World Bank Better Education Service for All BESDA Program which is aimed at reducing the level of illiteracy through tackling and mapping out of school children and returning them to classrooms covering local government areas of Bauchi, Ganjuwa, Jama’are, Alkaleri, Gamawa, Misau, Zaki, Katagum, Itas/Gadau, among others.
Governor Bala said the targeted audience included Almajiri, street hawkers, out of school children, internally displaced persons (IDPs) with an enrolment of 94, 000 students into 340 identified learning centres, saying 2, 168 facilitators were temporarily employed and posted to the centres to teach in line with program guidelines.
Senator Bala Mohammed also spoke about the African Development Bank (ADB) intervention in the education sector of the state with the construction of three model schools in Mashema, Dagauda and Yelwan Duguri in Itas/Gadau, Dambam and Alkaleri Local Government Areas respectively.
He revealed that under the ADB intervention, head teachers and teachers will be trained with the intent to enable them further their studies in education, while the schools have all facilities of a secondary school with each one having more than 24 classrooms, dormitories, and Quarters for teaching staff, all geared to improving quality of education and finding solution to the problem of out of school.
Senator Bala Mohammed disclosed that his administration has equally released the sum of 436,882,951.26 as part of its commitment in supporting USAID NEI-Plus programme in the state, stressing that affected pupils of NEI-Plus in all the beneficiary Local Government Authorities (LEAs) can perfectly read and write.
He enumerated other achievements of the administration through SUBEB to include, among others, regularization of 2018 UBEC staff and absorbing them into service to rest the issue of personnel that has been lingering for the past ten years, conduct quality assurance, qualitative teaching and learning in schools, and monitoring of school resumption for 1-3 terms across the LEAs to stop truancy.
The programme will also establish biometric to stop truancy and redundancy being exhibited by teachers at primary level, identify and remove over 600 categories of officers who left the service from the payroll within the ministry of education, presumably ghost workers.
According to the governor, the programme will also establish 24 primary schools across the Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and settle about 18 lands dispute between the schools’ communities who encroach the school lands.
Senator Bala Mohammed stressed the need for Bauchi state to take some access with the UBEC to fence all the primary schools in the state, to guard against intruders and menace including encroachment by illiterate members of the community.
Still under the programme, he went on, 2, 500 head teachers will undergo intensive training in COVID-19 psycho-social to public primary schools across the 20 LEAs of the state, as government has trained 300 public school officers and up-graded eleven primary schools to the status of junior secondary schools.
Governor Bala Mohammed assured the people of the state that government is aware about the mass retirement in the Local Education Authorities, and is working hard to come out with biometric with a view to employ new teachers and remove impurities of good workers.
Also speaking, the state commissioner of education, Dr. Aliyu Usman Tilde said that BESDA has been an important interaction in education, whose funds the ministry used in carrying out the annual schools’ census.
“About 300, 000 was provided for that, amounting to N119 million, but we were able to carry out the entire exercise successfully with only N34 million”, the commissioner said.
Tilde, who lamented the system of education being run by states and the country at large, called for an overhaul of entire education policies to meet peculiar needs of the country.
“We need another level of BESDA that would look inward because the problem is inside, inside the policies of education in this country, from SUBEB to UBEC to Ministry of Education and to the Government to be solved”.
Dr. Aliyu Tilde also appealed to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to redefine its definition of instructional materials as, according to him, a number of items that include chalks, among many, were not included in the definition of the materials.
To this end, Tilde disclosed approval by Governor Bala Mohammed for the building of additional sixteen primary and junior secondary schools in Bauchi metropolis to conform with the new policy of his ministry to provide for the maximum of 50 – 60 children per classroom.
The commissioner explained that the new classroom policy is coming on the wheels of his recent visit to one of the schools at Ibrahim Bako Quarters where he found a single class with a register of 350 children.
“I’m very glad to inform this gathering that a memo was recently written to His Excellency and he instantly gave the approval for the building of these schools”, Tilde said, pointing out that his ministry has already reached the ministry of lands for locations of the schools to be built by SUBEB.
The commissioner seeks for the audience of the emir of Bauchi, Dr. Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu who was present at the occasion, for discussions and mapping out way of acquiring lands for the locations and building of the proposed 16 primary and junior secondary schools in the metropolis.
Dr. Aliyu Usman Tilde similarly frowned at a situation where 210, 000 children would be enrolled in primary one only for the number to be dropped to 105, 000 representing 50 percent whereas it has got nothing to with geography, having the children and school in same location.
“Now out of the 105, 000 what number goes to JSS-1, and going to JSS-1 is automatic even if a child can’t read and write, he is allowed to go to JSS-1. A number of 62, 000 registered in JSS-1, so there is a drop from 105, 000 to 62, 000, and in the end it is about 58, 000 that we registered in JSS-3, almost the same number that sat for our examinations this year”, Tilde said.