By Bashir Abdullahi El-bash
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has set the ball rolling for the implementation of the well-conceived free and compulsory education policy in Kano state.
Even before the announcement of the free education policy, Governor Ganduje had consulted widely with experts from both within Nigeria and abroad, who equipped with exclusive advice and recommendations that would make the policy successful.
This is the reason the Ganduje administration is determined to implement the Kano State Education Trust Fund (KETFUND) Law of 2013, which is aimed at achieving equitable and inclusive access to quality education for all, in accordance with Education 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Governor Ganduje recently announced that his government would be depositing a sum of N200 million each month into the KETFUND, which is expected to cater for 1,180 schools with a total pupil population of 834, 366.
This means that the total funds that would be deposited into the KETFUND in a year would be a whooping N2.4 billion!
In an elaborate and well-attended the event held at Sani Abacha Stadium Kofar Mata, Governor Ganduje told excited parents, teachers, pupils and other stakeholders that the plan to start depositing money into the KETFUND was meant to kick-start the implementation of the free compulsory education policy.
“In our efforts to include Tsangaya schools into this system, our government has selected a total of 52 of such schools which would be collecting their operational funds directly from the government,” he said.
The governor added that as part of the direct funding of schools, the state government has provided uniforms to a total of 779,552 newly enrolled pupils both males and females at the sum of N381 million.
Similarly, Governor Ganduje said his administration is taking cogent steps to address the problem of inadequate teachers by employing about 3,000 more teachers who would be dispatched to various schools including Tsangaya schools across the 44 local government areas of the state.
On the issue of feeding, the governor explained that the state government has earmarked a sum of N350 million to feed pupils in primary four, five and six in order to complement the efforts of the federal government which has taken responsibility for feeding pupils of primary one, two and three.
Governor Ganduje, who is also concerned about the sustainability of the free compulsory education policy said the administration would sponsor a bill at the Kano State House of Assembly that would make the policy a law.
In addition to this, the governor set up a committee to take audit of all out-of-school children across Kano state to ensure that they are enrolled.
Another committee was also formed by Governor Ganduje to supervise the efficient implementation of the World Bank-supported Best Education for All Service Delivery (BESDA) and that of the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF)–all in order to ensure that all out-of-school children are enrolled in Kano state.
According to the governor, the World Bank and other development partners have donated 790 ultra-modern classrooms and computers for teachers to help impart quality knowledge in their pupils.
“At this point, I am expressing my enormous gratitude to all the development partners and other stakeholders that have supported our efforts for making the free compulsory education policy a success,” he said.
Governor Ganduje also appealed to the good people of Kano to support his government’s resolve to give free and quality education for their children, saying the government cannot succeed without the positive contribution of the people.
He added that among the noble objectives of the free education policy is to build a bright and promising future for children, empower the girl-child, empower underprivileged persons and those living in the rural areas so that Kano can witness sustainable economic development and prosperity.
Some of the those who attended the even include the Emirs of Bichi, Rano, Karaye, Gaya and a representative of the Emir of Kano.
Others are representatives of development partners such as the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF. All the dignitaries pledged to support the government on its life-changing human development policies.