Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Kwankwaso, Education and Governance in Kano

In his first tenure, 1999-2003, Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso re-introduced boarding to girls' secondary schools in the state, recognition of education as a powerful weapon for change and development, and a tool for nation building.

The prosperity of all societies always goes hand-in-hand with the development of education. Education is a veritable instrument for social change, a tool for the transformation of human societies. It is therefore the most important determinant for change and progress.

According to Shuaibu Umar Yola, Permanent Secretary, Kano State Manpower Development Directorate, the second tenure emergence of Engineer Kwankwaso administration "signified a turning point in all- embracing and challenging aspects of governance in the state".

It was the alarm raised in a research carried out by the Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom in collaboration with the state government that primary four pupils' average performance in Kano was 10% in English and 13% in Mathematics; 4 out of every Kano teacher scored between 0% to 25% in competence test; there are more than 100 children per classroom; 4 out of every 10 classes lack useful black board; 5 out of 6 primary school and ¼ of our junior secondary schools have no portable drinking water; there are 200 primary pupils per toilet in our schools and in Nassarawa Local Government in particular, the statistics is 1,200 pupils per toilet.

It is against this background that the administration, in line with the universal quest for transformation, fine-tuned all segments of public endeavours (including education) through vigorous pursuit of policies and programme that aim at improving the socio-economic well being of Kano citizens.

The government, known as Kwankwasiya, is now laying the foundation for high quality education at primary school level, free to all citizens.

Students from Kano State were also assisted through Kano State Guidance and Counselling Board to secure admission into various professional institutes such as the Petroleum Training Institute, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Nigerian Navy Basic Training School, Onne, Port Harcourt and the Police Academy, Wudil among numerous others.

In the 2012 budget, education got N35.5 billion above any sector, indicating the priority given to sector. Over 780 classrooms were built in the 44 local government areas of the state within the first year in office to decongest classrooms in our primary schools. Some 2,500 classroom blocks were also rehabilitated in addition to the feeding programme in primary and secondary schools.

Substantial amount of this N35.5 billion went to the establishment of 18 tertiary institutions.

As part of the government effort to regain the lost glory of the education sector, subsidized school buses were introduced for the purpose of conveying female students to and from their respective schools. This is part of the numerous programmes aimed encouraging girl-child education in the state.

In addition, the state government provides free uniform to pupils in primary one. All these programmes are to promote pupils' attendance and increase in school enrolment. In a similar move the state government has sponsored 501 postgraduate students abroad to read various courses, another set of 100 students were also given scholarship to read marine and aeronautics engineering in various citadels of learning overseas.

Clearly, Kwankwaso is making some positive changes to the education system in the state by refocusing government attention on this all-important sector as well as giving emphasis on skill development in order to tackle poverty and spread prosperity among the people of Kano State especially the youths. People, humanity and time will surely be the judges of his stewardship. For now, Kwankwaso is focused on turning the plans for the people of Kano into action and deeds.

The government has also taken measures to plug all sources of leakages within the public service, the civil service and the entire government machinery. As the Kano State Commissioner of Information, Dr Umar Farouk Jibril rightly observed "if you have a leadership that is focused, prudent, honest, transparent and accountable, you will save a lot of money".

Maikaba wrote from Kano

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