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Staying Above UNESCO Threshold In Education, Sokoto Taking The Lead

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For consistently maintaining the UNESCO requirement to the education sector in the state and passing a law criminalising any parent, guardian or care giver who, for no just cause, denies any child the right to education, Sokoto is fast taking the lead in having a well educated populace. ANKELI EMMANUEL (Sokoto) writes on the impacts of Sokoto’s declaration of emergency on education.

How time flies. In five months from now, former House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, would have spent four years as Sokoto State governor and as expected, like every other typical Nigerian politician, Tambuwal is no doubt seeking reelection for yet another four years in office after losing his bid to become Nigerian President at the PDP presidential primaries held in Rivers State, recently.

Prior to the development, LEADERSHIP had reported earlier that Tambuwal would be taking a shot at the presidency under another political platform aside his former party, the APC.  The paper also reported that should Tambuwal fail to clinch the presidential ticket of whatever party, he decides to join ahead of 2019 general elections, the governor would certainly come back and contest for a second term in office.

Tambuwal, who became governor in 2015 seems to have gotten his priorities outlined even before then. On assumption of office, while many expected a sporadic completion of inherited projects and further display of infrastructural development, the governor willingly but very aptly opted for human capital development as the desired bedrock for other developmental pursuits of the state.

This, the governor kick-started with a fierce pronouncement of State Of Emergency On the Education Sector. The aim, according to him, was to amongst other things, revamp the sector back to its lost glory.

Summarily, therefore, Tambuwal constituted committees to assess the past, the present and establish concrete blueprints towards achieving quality education status in the state afterwards.

Almost four years down the lane, with the governor seeking reelection once again, citizens of the state have now begun to ask what has Tambuwal achieved thus far to be entrusted with yet another four years.

Like Japhet Eden said that ensuring an educated society remains an integral part of good governance, hence it’s a foundation that is capable of standing the test of time, the governor’s apologists would rightly point to some of his modest achievements in that direction.

No doubt, since assumption of office in 2015, Tambuwal has continued to give higher percentage of the state’s budgetary allocation, far above UNESCO requirement, to the education sector.

Tambuwal further got a legislative nod on his quest for sound education when the state lawmakers passed a law criminalsing any parent, guardian or caregiver who, for no just cause, denies any child the right to education.

This law was greeted with lots of excitement, more so that education in the state seems totally free from primary, secondary up to tertiary institutions.

While many state governments out rightly relinquish part of their expected responsibilities, especially education of the youths to parents, Sokoto State will continue to be applauded for its leading role in supporting education.

Scrutinising the trend from memory lens of some indigenes, Kabiru Ahmed from Denge-Shuni, who said he was a beneficiary of same gesture during former governor, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa’s administration, divulged that he would forever remain grateful to the state.

Another beneficiary of such political will in the education sector, is an orphan, Hassan Abubakar, who hails from Sokoto North local government area of the state. Hassan told LEADERSHIP Friday that, he acquired his higher education free of charge courtesy of the immediate past governor, now Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko’s scholarship scheme.

Like a progress path laid by ancestors for their offspring, Tambuwal’s towing of this route is therefore not a big surprise to many.

Dissecting Tambuwal’s modest impact in that regard, Hon Altine Shehu Kajiji, the state executive chairman, Scholarship Board, said Sokoto had continued to lag behind as far as Western education is concern.

Kajiji opined, “For as long as our dear state has been classified as educationally disadvantaged, which means the state is lagging behind in provision of western education to its citizens, therefore, it has relatively lowered level of literacy in comparison with other states in Nigeria due to low enrolment and retention rates.

“Lack of accessibility to education translates to slothful human capital development, wide spread poverty, squalour, high maternal and infant mortality rates, diseases, retarded growth and development of the state. Inability to compare and fill our quarters in all the federal establishments and educational institutions is also a direct consequence.”

Reeling out some of the urgent models adopted by the governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal-led government towards halting the trend and turning around the educational fortune of the state, Kajiji said, the State of Emergency declared on Education was an honest but holistic approach aimed at encouraging rapid development of the state, alleviating poverty, ignorance and unemployment amongst others.

According to Kajiji, that step equally reinvigorated those agencies managing education for optimal performance, adding it will no doubt further encourage indigenes to advance their studies in higher institutions.

“In our case, Scholarship Board is receiving supports financially with releases made for payment of tuition fees and allowances of students despite the lean financial resources of the state.

Kajiji, who stated that from inception of Tambuwal’s administration to date, no fewer than 3 billion naira has been expended on scholarship for students, both within and outside the shores of Nigeria, added that the payment also covers upkeep allowances for foreign students in Cyprus, USA, UK, Turkey, Sudan, Antigua, Uganda and Niger Republic as well as those involved Bangladesh.

He added that no fewer than 38 students who returned from UAE were successfully relocated to continue their study in Baze University, Abuja within their tuition fees paid from 2016 to date.

Another giant dimension from what Kajiji recounted was the transfer of 235 students of Sokoto State indigenes studying professional course to their relevant ministries were they were placed on certain grade levels pending the completion of their courses with a guarantee of continuing as employees of such ministries.

“With this, the students become automatic employees of such ministries or departments. The practice is to catch them young and encourage them to focus on serving their state in such fields that are scarce and where there is competition in getting such professionals in labour market. The fields include Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Architecture amongst others.

“There are 24 students in Uganda (12 graduated this year), 114 in Sudan, 34 in Bangladesh, 17 in Niger Republic and more than 200 students in America, UK, Europe, Asia and other African countries, with about 1,000 who received assistances or partial sponsorship of 50 per cent of the total package of the cost of study.

“The proposal for a collaboration between Sokoto Scholarship Board and some universities from the People’s Republic of China to obtain scholarship award for Dentist, Pharmacy, Chemical Engineering, International Trades and Economics, Civil Engineering, Construction Management Engineering, Petroleum, Computer Science, Oil and Gas Storage as well as Marine Engineering amongst others have been approved and we are working towards that now,” Kajiji noted.

 

 

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