North West: Most Backward in Education With Severe Poverty – Masari

By; Mohammad Ibrahim, Kaduna
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State  has expressed disappointment over the fallen standard of education in the state,  describing Northwest zone  as most backwards in education compares to other zones in the country.
The governor also said the zone despite its backwardness in education  is where poverty is the most severe.
Governor Masari stated this at a Town Hall meeting with Katsina state indigenes resident in Kaduna held at the weekend.
The governor lamented that education used to occupy a pride of place amongst Katsina people but the situation has
now changed for the worse.
“Every survey or study that has been carried out by development partners or federal ministry of education show that the North West is  the most backwards in education and that is where poverty is the most severe.
“The situation didn’t start now, it is as a result of past neglect, “he said.
He  warned  that a lot still needs to be done in order to salvage the situation before is too late, particularly in Katsina state.
“There is no position in Nigeria that a Katsina indigene has not occupied. We are the only state that has produced the presidency of Nigeria three times. This is a foundation that was built by our parents but before our own eyes,  we have left it to deteriorate,’’ Masari said.
Governor Masari said that the highest that Katsina state has recorded in WAEC or NECO exams is 11%, that means those that have five credits, including English and Mathematics.
“From 2011 to 2013, we have present 250,000 candidates for  WAEC and NECO out of which only 58,000 got five credits that comprise English and Mathematics.
“When we removed students in private schools in Katsina
 state and our indigenes that sat for the external exams in  other states, the number of students  who got five credits, including English and Mathematics in public schools which government is running  is about 340 to 500 students,’’ he added.
The governor reiterated that 95% of Katsina indigenes live
 in the state, adding that if that  percentage can only  produce less than 500 students who are eligible   go to tertiary institutions, then there is a big problem.
Governor Masari said that his administration has set up a committee that visited all the primary and secondary schools in Katsina  state and the committee did a head count. He said that  there was a great disparity between what was on ground and the figures in the register.
‘’What the committee found in the register is that there is 1.2 million pupils who were in primary schools but when it conducted a head count, the committee counted only 728,000. In secondary schools, it saw that  378,000 students were on the register but only 328,000 were actually on ground,’’ he added.
 Masari recalled that UNICEF and federal ministry of education finished a survey in 2013. ‘’They found out that there are 80% of out of school children in all the states in the North West. Only 20% are attending primary schools. In contrast,  southern states up to Kogi state have enrolment rate of 80%, ‘’ he said.


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