*Says govt working on housing, car schemes for workers
By; BILIQIS OLAJUMOKE ONAOLAPO, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said his administration remains committed to quality education and human capital development, recalling how he had saved the sector from collapse and relaunched Kwara for greater future.
The governor said the huge investment in the sector continues despite dwindling revenues and competing priorities for governments worldwide.
“Our expenses have really gone up. We are implementing KwaraLEARN. We’re paying UBEC counterpart funding, which the previous administration could not pay. We are investing heavily in education and human capital development because we prioritise the sector and the future of this state, ” AbdulRazaq said on Saturday in Ilorin at the induction of new set of teachers trained for KwaraLEARN programme.
KwaraLEARN is a flagship education programme of the AbdulRazaq administration, which involves the use of modern technology to train teachers, improve teaching techniques, and boost education outcomes for school children. It berthed in four local government areas (Baruten, Ilorin East, Ilorin West, and Offa) last year, with at least 45% rise in school attendance by November 2022 and significant improvements in literacy and numeracy skills of pupils.
The Governor said the programme costs a lot of money but is hugely necessary to secure the future of the Kwara child.
“If you look at the figures, between 2015 and 2019 the income to the state – FAAC, IGR and the likes were higher than what we have received between 2019 and today. By December last year, we earned N44bn less than the last administration. Yet, we are paying the N30,000 minimum wage and consequential adjustment which they could not pay,” he explained, pointing up the prudence of the administration and its commitment to people’s welfare.
AbdulRazaq assured teachers of improved welfare packages with the planned introduction of housing scheme and car loan support to address mobility and accommodation challenges.
He added: “We will continue to work on your welfare, not just salaries. We are working on the housing scheme, which will come in place very soon by the grace of God. You have seen how we appreciated the best teachers and so on. We will also come up with a scheme under which you will have access to car loans. So, stay the course with us. Things will improve. If the former administration had not dropped the ball, you would have been singing different tunes now. For instance, last month, we paid N3.5bn for pensions and gratuities to cover 2009 and 2010, among other arrears. We should have used that money to do some other projects under this administration. But we used it to clear the liabilities they left. That is what happens in all sectors. We are using our resources to cover liabilities of the past. We feel it is a necessity to do so as a matter of government’s obligation to the people.”
He urged the teachers to continue to support his administration to consolidate on the achievements recorded so far.
“When I walked in here and I saw your faces, I saw excitement. I saw that you are happy with what you are doing. You appreciate what the state government is doing. Do we need to do more? Yes. We will do more. Your welfare is important to us. We would have gone beyond this level,” he said.
“It is part of our commitment to education that brought you here. Stay the course with us. We will improve on what we do to consolidate on the successes achieved so far. We thank you for the success of our children in the presidential school debate. With the right motivation, we believe you can do better. This is a serious government. We will continue to invest in education. We thank you for the service you are rendering to Kwara.”
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs Mary Adeosun, for her part, said the administration has changed the narrative in the education sector, saying the teachers are now more dedicated, committed and responsive in line with the commitment of the governor.
KwaraLearn Project Director Olusegun Abiola disclosed that six more local government areas have been integrated into the KwaraLEARN programme to ensure that the pupils get quality education in line with global best standards.
“We started with four local governments (Ilorin West, Ilorin East, Baruten and Offa) in April last year for the pilot scheme and we now extended to six more local government areas to make it 10. Now, we have Asa, Patigi, Irepodun, Ilorin South, Oke-Ero and and Ekiti local government areas enrolled to the scheme. So, we are looking forward to integrating the remaining six local governments before the year runs out,” he said.
“KwaraLEARN programme is designed to improve learning outcomes in the state. This kind of programme only exists in four states in the country. The essence of the programme is to integrate technology into learning and to ensure that the pupils get quality education in line with global standards.
“This programme is to make the children learn like their counterparts in Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda and other countries where this programme is being deployed. So, the governor, being a visionary leader with people of Kwara State at heart and knowing the children of Kwara State as the future of the state, has invested heavily in the programme to ensure that the pupils stand side-by-side with their counterparts anywhere.”