By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe has said that the state government led by Governor Nasir el-Rufai accords top priority to human capital development, in its quest at attaining the number one destination for harnessing talents in the country.
She expressed this on Thursday while speaking as the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion of the Chartered Institute Of Human Capital Development of Nigeria’s Mandatory Talent Development Programme, held at the National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna, on March 17, 2022.
“In Kaduna State, we have realised the importance of Human Capital Development and through the initiative of our dear Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufa’i, we have created a Human Capital Development Policy Council.
“It is a clearing house where all details of policies on human capital are planned and discussed before final approvals by the State Executive Council; it is also where executed policies are also monitored and evaluated.
“To enhance its work and meet its Term of Reference, the Council is divided into five Strategic Areas namely, Health and Nutrition, Education, Social Development, Skills Development and Community Engagement,” she said.
Dr. Balarabe explained that since each strategic area is made up of MDAs related to its tasks, the Policy Council is able to drive a lot of the reforms in the public sector that are geared towards capacity building of public servants, enhancing the quality of teachers in public schools and providing infrastructure that are intended to improve education outcomes, maternity and childcare, health and nutrition and mental well-being of citizens.
“In addition to the routine immunisations of pregnant women and children, we have renovated 255 primary healthcare centres at least one in every ward. These clinics have been equipped and adequately staffed.
“We are also in the process of construction of new primary healthcare centres in selected locations that have been identified with needs.
“In the areas of education, we have renovated about 500 primary and secondary schools and provided parameter fences as required by United Nations agencies for the security of our children.
“Six new science secondary schools are been constructed to augment existing ones,” she said.
According to her, in Kaduna State, they do not want any child of school going age to miss school on account of lack of access or money.
“In addition to the free school feeding programme, we also provided free school uniforms to our students.
“We are providing 12 years of compulsory education for children from primary to Senior Secondary Schools,” she informed.
The Deputy Governor pointed out that the steps they have taken have increased school enrolment in primary and secondary schools by more than 1m.
“We are also interested in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for our students seeing that it is an easier way for providing employment to our youth as well as preparing them to contribute to the economic development of the state and the country.
“We have identified the needs of the labour market and what industries need and we are preparing our skilled hands to fill in these gaps.
” It is in this wise that your theme for this meeting, “Skills Paradigm Shifts: Identifying and Harnessing Skills and Talents for Economic Rebirth”, agrees with our vision for our young people in Kaduna state and part of the direction of the education we are providing in the state. I commend your vision and your choice of this theme,” she added.
She noted that a study of Human Capital Development reports indicate that differences in the quality as well as quantity of schooling account for the largest contribution in the differences in Human Capital Development Index of countries and across country income groups.
“Therefore, education and then health have formed the base of our human capital development in Kaduna State.
“That is why since 2015, our health sector has been receiving 15% of our annual budgets as recommended by the African Union when it met in Abuja in 2001 and 25% of the Budgets have been for education, missing UNESCO’s 26% recommendation by a mark,” she revealed.
She said that the urban renewal programme in the state is intended to provide conducive living conditions for citizens where environmental and health hazards are reduced, mobility to and from economic and social activities are enhanced and recreational amenities are available for the physical and mental well-being of citizens.