Education has been number one priority for any society that plans to become and remains relevant in history. In Nigeria, historians since time immemorial have never failed to highlight the position of Katsina State in the field of education. Legends such as Danmasani, Danmarina and scholars such as Almaghili and fountains of knowledge in sub-Saharan Africa have confirmed the acceptability of knowledge in the annals Katsina people.
This trend has either become reinforced as the society grows in sophistication or reinvented as more and more people struggle to drink from the vast fountains available in the land of hospitality. The magnificent legends that our forefathers tell us in oral and documented histories was never shy of the contributions of the Katsinawas in the development of knowledge not only in sub-Saharan Africa but worldwide.
It was this historical antecedents that traditionally places the teacher as an important part and parcel of the Katsina people and its history such that when in the early 20th century colonialists were struggling to locate a site for the establishment of an educational institution that will grow to become the light of scholarship Katsina was chosen and the first institution of learning in what was to become northern protectorates was cited in the ancient city.
Renowned administrators, teachers, politicians, businessmen and women as well as actors in the religious and secular fields in the Nigerian history cannot be referred to without relating their roots to the great Katsina dynasty.
This tradition was to continue even after independence and subsequently into the 21st century, and today education and knowledge have become the symbol upon which the Katsina people bask upon with pride and evidences. With the coming of the democracy after long military rule the state was to become the first to establish a privately owned University in the whole of northern Nigeria and one of the few in the entire country. Today, Katsina state can boast of being the only state with three Universities, two colleges of education, a polytechnic and several schools of higher education learning in the entire country.
By 2007 when the administration of Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema can into being education became a priority with one of the highest budgetary allocation commiserate with the world standard and even above. Since then concerted efforts were introduced that include massive investment in the sector leading to increased in enrolment from only 1 million pupils to over 1.4m pupils today in the 2,203 primary schools in the state. As it is well known that for any efforts to be productive in the education sector welfare of the teachers must be given priority as well as instructional materials. In this regard the out of the 23045 school teachers in the state 21140 were promoted while currently over 17,000 teachers are undergoing training in various certificates across the country.
By 2007 and 2008 the federal government through the federal ministry of education recognized Katsina state as the best in terms of UBE implementation and success. This recognition came along with a whopping N700 million gift and a Hilux vehicle to march. The gesture has only ginger the effort and determination of the board that in the following subsequent year's enrolment were increased by 30% while school instructional materials and classrooms construction grow by over 50% within three years.
As at today, the state has the highest number of teacher to pupil ratio of 1-60 while it boasts of a cumulative teacher per school ratio of 10 to 1. This statistic is not only unprecedented in the history of primary education in the country; it also shows the commitment and determination to provide qualitative and quantitative education to the teeming children in the state.
Girl child education is tackled with vigorous determination through improving access to education to this category by 60% within the last few years. Since 2008 this administration has become one of the only six states in the federation to commit hundreds of millions of naira in the UNICEF/DFID girl child education initiative through the construction of classrooms and procurement of furniture's for the benefit of the girl child in the state. Today, the overall girl child enrolment in the state has increased from only 234.000 in 2007 to about 600.000 today; this is an increase of over 200% within just a few years.
Since then the issue of teacher salary structure received a boost with the implementation of the TSS in 2009 with a view of compliment the large investment in the sector and to also boost the morale of the teachers a training programme was introduced where over 90% of all teachers in the state attend training or more.Apart from all these primary and secondary education in the state is free and qualitative as well as scholarship within and outside the country for students of proven academic records. Not only, the Shema administration the first to implement the N18.000 national salary scale. It is this patriotic gesture that earns the governors countless recognition by Universities and higher institutions across the globe.
It is evident therefore that the brouhaha about the falsehood on the failure of the state government to pay the TSS was just an imagination of the fictitious writers and their sponsors. Teachers in the state are all aware of these facts and will not be gored into biting the fingers that feed them.
Governor Ibrahim Shema has never hidden his recognition for the contribution education has always given to the growth and development of any society that chooses to rid itself of under development and become one of the developed where peace, security and welfare of its citizens are the indicators of good governance, in Katsina good governance has assured all these.
Nagado wrote from Unguwar Dabino