Quietly and assuredly, a fundamental change is taking place in the educational sector in Niger State, which at the end of the day, would be the defining moment of the administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello.
This profoundly and refreshing approach to education is revolutionary both in content and scope and arguably the first of its kind in the country on account of its hands-on approach in the comprehensive development of education as it confronts declining standards, infrastructure and teacher quality.
It was as if Governor Sani Bello, conscious of the high standard of education in the state in the past, kept the masterplan to revive education close to his chest did not waste time after his inauguration to set the ball rolling towards the comprehensive look at the problems facing education in the state.
The first significant destination of this creative project is to provide pupils with ample opportunity to take conscious professional decision to become teachers and progress through the system. Through interviews and examinations for academic competence, a harvest of 274 pupils made up of equal number of boys and girls in each political ward of the state with full boarding and scholarship. To monitor the programme, parents principals, ward heads education secretaries, SUBEB officials with the ministry of education the supervising agency. SUBEB under his administration has been active not only in renovating, but also building new schools all over the state.
Under Governor Sani Bello, the second intervention was to redefine the in-service teacher training programme. The problem at hand will be best understood or appreciated when considered that in the past, mass employment of teachers has been without regard or consideration for professional standards. More chaotic for Niger State is that it has 3,124 public primary schools with a staff strength of 22,316. Consequently, the need became urgent for quality control measures tapping into resource persons and development partners. This is to ensure continuous professional teacher capacity and quality assurance to mitigate short term personnel requirement.
The governor has introduced the teacher management information system to help determine the status of teachers at the basic education level at both public and private schools–qualification, subject specialty, age and trainings gaps–providing a data base for recruitment or retention where necessary.
The governor has also scored another success with the introduction of the whole school development approach by renovating primary schools, all aimed at improving access, equity and quality education. Under this scheme and across the three senatorial zone, nine schools were renovated for both boys and girls, including the provision of staff and students’ furniture, science equipment, etc.
These schools which were an eyesore have now become awesome to behold in terms of their breath-taking renovation. It is therefore expected that these intervention will provide a solid educational foundation in Niger State by ensuring gender balance, improved environment for teaching and learning and allow authorities to retain students and ensure steady supply for the manpower needs of the state at tertiary institutions.
At the end of the day, with this foundation being laid by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, he would have written his name boldly in gold as a man who came, saw and changed the educational sector in Niger State.
– Mohammed wrote in from Bosso Road, Minna. dancing
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