By; Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar has constituted a task force under the chairmanship of the Deputy Governor who is the commissioner of education, Engineer Nuhu Gidado to reposition and overhaul the education sector in the state.
The Deputy Governor and Commissioner of Education, Engineer Nuhu Gidado disclosed this at the launching of the Northern Education Initiative Plus Project, saying the task force was constituted to prepare the education sector, to which the administration allocated the highest budgetary allocation of 20% of the 2016 appropriation.
The new disposition, according to him, is geared towards increasing school enrolment at the basic education level, ensure return of dropouts to school, especially the girl-child to the classroom, make education mandatory, affordable and accessible to indigent children and increase its cost effectiveness,.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar has during the occasion commended USAID for supporting education in the state, explaining that Northern Education Initiative Plus, being anchored by agency aims at building on past successes which strengthened basic education systems in Bauchi and Sokoto States.
He lamented the poor handling of the education sector by past administrations, especially in Northern Nigeria, saying “more than 30% of school-aged children in Northern Nigeria do not have access to basic education.
“This project is therefore absolutely necessary if we are to make any headway in our quest to bequeath a worthy educational legacy for the up-coming generations of our dear State”, Abubakar said.
He expressed gratitude that the Northern Education Initiative Plus seeks to reach more than 1.6 Million school enrolments in first to third grades along with more than 500, 000 out-of-school children and youth attending about 11,000 non-formal learning centres with financial support of about $117 million from USAID and Creative Associates International covering three northern states including Bauchi.
The Governor stressed that education sector must be carefully planned through effective policies and programmes for efficient service delivery where all children would have access to and complete good quality basic education, a reason which necessitated his government’s decision to embark on teachers assessment and verification exercise to fish out ghost and fake teachers.
“It is also to ensure prompt payment of teachers’ salaries, improving school structures, providing teachers’ welfare packages and settlement of external examinations registration fees for students, increased enrolment in adult and non-formal education, putting up additional learning centers and improved capacity building training for facilitators and managers”.
He said governments, particularly in northern Nigeria must take proactive measure to improve the well-being the people, most especially those in the rural areas, stressing that his administration has embarked on campaign drive to enroll more children into schools in order to reduce the level of out-of-school children which stood at 10.5 Million from the core Northern States, including Bauchi State.
The Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu had while appreciating the intervention being offered by development partners to support the state government in resuscitating the critical sectors of development, commended the Abubakar-led administration for according education the highest budgetary allocation.
By; Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi