*Gombe State constructs, renovates over 400 schools
*Governor Yahaya undertakes to sponsor education of visually impaired pupil
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has flagged- off the distribution of school uniforms and bags containing writing materials to pupils in public schools and girl-child learning centers in the state, which is expected to be extended to over 200,000 pupils.
According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), Ismaila Uba Misilli the exercise in Jalingo Primary School, Furnakaye Local Government Area, he said the distribution of the materials demonstrates his administration’s commitment to improving the quality of education in the state through the provision of instructional materials and basic support to pupils in various public schools across the state.
The Governor expressed the hope that the gesture will help increase enrolement level and enhance the quality of teaching and learning in public schools with a view to producing pupils who will go on to excel in higher stages of life in the future.
He lamented that over the years Gombe state used to be ranked among the poorly performed states in national examinations, as such his government saw the need to change the narrative through sound education policies.
Governor Yahaya added that his administration met an education system that was ravaged by inadequate and decayed infrastructure, large number of out-of school children and a teaching work force that is poorly trained and motivated.
The Governor said through concerted effort, the state government declared a state of emergency in the sector and deployed a broad based approach to deal with the educational challenges in the state.
He said government took necessary actions to improve basic literacy level by venturing into the Federal Government/ World Bank project of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) to ensure the mopping up of out of school children and returning them back to formal learning centres.
” Among other steps taken was conversion and renovation of the dilapidated and abandoned almajiri school in Kwami into a teacher training centre to serve as a capacity building citadel for teachers in the state”.
Governor Yahaya lauded the concerted efforts by BESDA and SUBEB as well as development partners such as USAID and UNICEF for supporting the state towards revamping the standard of education in the state through training and retraining of teachers.
“Other areas of focus in improving education in the state is the renovation of schools across the state to ensure that a conducive atmosphare of learning is put in place for pupils and teachers”.
He added that from September 2019-March 2020 Gombe state government through BESDA project was able to enroll over two hundred thousand out of school children, ranging from almajiri/tsangaya school category to girl-child education.
The governor who urged traditional leaders and parents to suppport government in the sensitization and mobilization, also charged the SUBEB and BESDA officials to be fair and transparent in distributing the materials.
He told the gathering that his administration is committed to free sponsorship of all wards with disability, pledging to personally sponsor an Eight year old visually impaired pupil, Muhammad Ahmad who was at the occasion with the help of a guide.
He said he will personally fund from his pocket, the educational expenses of the boy from primary to any level he aspires to attain.
Commissioner of Education, Dr Habu Dahiru assured the gathering that state ministry of education will continue to ensure the statutory mandate of the ministry of promoting quality educational policies are sustained.
He noted that the ministry closely supports and monitors the basic education projects to ensure the project becomes a success.
The Commissioner commended Governor Yahaya for re-introducing the mock examination which he said will henceforth be used as a yardstick of students’ sponsorship in WAEC/NECO.
Dr Habu Dahiru expressed optimism that the restored policy will make impact on students performance in the senior school certificate examinations.
In his welcome address, the BESDA state Coordinator, Dr Abdullahi Bappah Garkuwa lauded educational initiatives of Governor Yahaya administration and committment of other development partners for supporting BESDA project, attributing the successes recorded by the project in the state to Governor Yahaya’s positive disposition.
Chairman of State Universal Basic Education Board Hon. Babaji Babadidi attributed the menace of out of school children to poverty, socio- economic, cultural benefits and security challenges, applauding Governor Inuwa Yahaya for taking necessary measures to nip the situation in the bud.