By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Emir of Bauchi, Dr. Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu has described the reunion of old students of an educational institution as the real pursuit of education, but not the good old days, when as students, they assembled to socialize together as members of a household.
To this end, the emir stressed the need for old students of a particular institution or class set, to meet regularly not only to mingle or reminisce about old school days, but to forge a common front and help one another occupationally or intellectually, among others.
Dr. Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu was speaking on Saturday, while receiving the set ’84 of old students of former Bauchi College of Arts and Science (BACAS) which eventually metamorphosed into the now Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP), Bauchi at his palace.
He expressed delight with the reunion of the old students in a unity of purpose, advised them to always extent helping hands to one another, and fervently prayed for the departed ones among them.
The BACAS old students who earlier during the day converged at Zaranda Hotel for the reunion where they enumerated four areas or factors as tools, environment, teachers and administrators for old associations could make interventions to redress situations.
Prof. Mohammed Musa of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Abuja in a paper presentation, called for revive of education system in public schools where, he urged, students’ access to well-equipped laboratories, stocked libraries with books and access to computer is mostly through their imaginations.
Old Student Musa noted that lack of the enumerated factors has made it difficult for students to practice most of the theories they are being fed, saying the hope of functional and effective society largely depend on public schools that decline of public education sector cuts across all levels of education.
“The Challenge is that in our country today, our public schools have been neglected and that explains the recent surge in private schools from primary to university level. Even though many Nigerians opt to send their children to these private schools, we must never forget the fact that most of us are products of public schools”.
Musa added, “The point that needs to be underscored is that public schools have significant social missions in every society today. They provide universal access to affordable education; they guarantee equal opportunities for all children and they unify a diverse population”.
Prof. Mohammed Musa also spoke on education funding, making reference to Nigeria’s yearly budgetary allocation to the sector that constitute an average of 10 percent over the years with pales in comparison to many African countries, and falling short of UNESCO’s recommended standard of at least 26 percent.
He cited the comparison with some African countries that allocates an average of 25 percent such as Cote d’ivoire 30 percent, Kenya 23 percent and neighbouring Ghana 30 percent, saying the worse is that the meagre allocation from the Nigerian education budgetary are mostly spent on recurrent expenditure leaving very little capital for infrastructural upgrade and capacity building in public schools.
The Chairman of the occasion who is the Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Dr. Balarabe Shehu Ilelah has earlier in a welcome address, said the aim of the re-union was to poster unity and reconnect with old students of the college, while giving everyone a sense of belonging.
He described the reunion of 1984 BACAS old students as a thing of joy, saying “Some of their classmates felt that if those of them who are within the circumvent of Gombe state will meet and not recognize themselves, there was the need for the old boys to reconnect, hence the initiation of this event”.
Ilelah said, “When the platform for this association was launched, I am proud to say that the response was so impressive. In the first few days, the number of people that were enrolled on that platform was big, it was over 100 members. We were saddled with the responsibility of organizing this event in Bauchi state, it was essentially to re-unite our members”.