By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Monday afternoon, launched the state government free feeding programme, covering about 6,800 public primary schools across the state.
A statement signed by the Director General, Media and Public Relations, Government House, Kano, Ameen K. Yassar, said that the programme is a critical component of the administration’s free and compulsory education policy which targets inclusiveness for vulnerable children, girl child education and integration of Qur’anic education schools into mainstream formal education.
Speaking during the ceremony heal at Kawaji Jigirya Primary School in Nasarawa local government, Gov. Ganduje explained that the school feeding programme was “aimed at enhancing school enrolment, minimizing absenteeism and generally improving the well being of the pupils”.
“We are specifically aiming at children from poor families under this programme. We want to improve their nutrition because it is when you do so that you can optimize their capacity to learn and their physical abilities”, he stated.
“This programme must be sustained through transparency and accountability in the system, because of its importance. That is why the state Community Promotion Committee must ensure thorough supervision of the food and distribution system in all schools”, he added.
Dr. Ganduje said quality assurance committees have been set up by the government to ensure that teaching and learning standards in public schools were not compromised, warning head teachers and teachers to remain alive to their responsibilities.
“You must be up and doing so that we can attain the envisaged 99 percent in quality assurance in our schools”, the governor tasked the teachers.
He said because of the dramatic increase in the number of pupils since the declaration of the free education policy in the state, there was the need for more infrastructure and teaching/ learning materials to contain the situation.
Gov. Ganduje, therefore, implored well meaning community members, corporate bodies and groups to support the government in this direction.
He said the aim of integrating Qur’anic schools with basic formal education, alongside supporting them with food was to prevent the pupils from begging and to expand their capacity to engage in developmental affairs.
In his remarks, the chairman, Kano State Community Promotion Committee, Alh. Ya’u Abdullahi ‘Yanshana explained that the pupils will be provided with assorted meals from Monday – Thursday, while on Fridays, every child would get biscuits.
“This programme will also improve the capacity of our local small holder farmers and traders as well as the women we have engaged to prepare the meals for our kids”, the chairman emphasized.
Earlier, the chairman of Nassarawa local government area, Lamin Sani, represented by his deputy, Muhammad Shehu, revealed that because of the government’s free education policy, the primary school enrollment in the area has increased with about 24, 000 new pupils.