My Vision for Jigawa State (III) -By Mustapha Sule Lamido

This week, I want to start by thanking all the people of Jigawa State for their show of support, and in particular those who have been following us as we share our vision for the state. I am especially honored by this gesture and will use it as inspiration not to disappoint you if I get the chance. During the last four weeks, we have received more than 25,000 direct responses, comments and criticisms; some of which we are still studying for necessary action. Please keep them coming. But while you’re at it, try cashing in your PVC or register if you haven’t already.

As I mentioned earlier, today’s discussion will focus on education, which will be our top priority if we are elected. Of the 10 most educated states in Nigeria, 7 are also the most economically developed. This means that the surest path to development is education. Simply put, our education plan is ambitious, comprehensive, and comprehensive. We have designed programs to transform Islamic, Western, mass and special education at the basic, post-basic and tertiary levels.

That this is the first communication in which we will make substantive commitments regarding the implementation of policies and the development of capital projects requires that I re-emphasize our previous commitment to the unity of the Jigawa people. As such, we will not execute projects based solely on the previous tradition of the emirates quota system, but rather based on the real needs and aspirations of the entire Jigawa people without discrimination. If we are chosen, one tool we intend to use for such unification is education.

If elected, we aspire to touch on all aspects of education, but it will be done in phases. While we can achieve some, we will lay the groundwork for others to continue. In short, we will work for the standardization of Islamic Education and the remodeling of the Almajiri system. Others are the general reform and improvement of the educational infrastructure; free education for girls/women up to tertiary level; strengthen mass education and nomadic literacy; special scholarship for professional programs and top graduates and improvement of teacher welfare.

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Due to their importance, all the people appointed to lead the education sector will be subject to close scrutiny. Individuals must demonstrate understanding of our vision and have their own unique initiatives to improve it before being appointed. The education ministry is one that I will not rush or consider only political reasons in appointing a commissioner; I prefer to take my time to allow competent people to show an interest, be interviewed and then given the opportunity.

We will Insha Allah empower the quality assurance units of the ministry of education and agencies at the state and local government level to ensure better service delivery. I personally will be regularly briefed on the impact of our reforms on the quality of education as we move forward. I will tour schools regularly to see for myself how well standards are met in teaching, learning, and administering general education. A special communication services unit will be created with a special representative from the governor’s office to report all public comments on education development. We are not going to joke with education.

Other things being equal, education will get the largest budget allocation in our administration and we will encourage Local Government Areas to do so. Because no amount of money spent on education will be too much and the government alone cannot handle the entire burden, our government will establish the Jigawa Education Trust Fund (JETFund). This fund will seek donations and funding from philanthropists, entrepreneurs, contractors, NGOs, and even ordinary citizens and the money will be used to improve education while ensuring transparency and accountability. The JETFund will be jointly managed by the state government and a Board of Trustees made up of Jigawa elders.

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Starting with basic education, there are currently 2,490 primary schools spread over 1,154 district villages and towns in the state. Together with teachers and other stakeholders, we will start by assessing the conditions of these schools before embarking on renovating and upgrading the dilapidated ones among them, which will be done in phases starting from the worst. This will lay a solid foundation for the trend to continue in geometric progression. Our hope is that in 4 years most schools will be in better condition. In each federal constituency, Insha Allah we will build a world class model primary school that will be a symbol of excellence. Over time, this will expand to at least one per LGA.

As we renovate and build more schools, the demand for labor will also increase. We are fully aware that one of the biggest challenges for existing schools is staffing shortages. To address this, we will retrain and redeploy redundant civil servants in the classroom. We will make sure that all NYSC members sent to schools do not abscond. We will also introduce the Volunteer Teacher Scheme to recruit unemployed but qualified new graduates on a temporary basis. While we do all this, we will design a master plan for sustainable workforce matching in the education sector. Part of this is to make the teaching work very attractive so that people will rush to join and those who are hesitating to leave God willing.

Our secondary education needs attention. We currently have 571 junior high schools and 269 senior high schools. Compared to the more than one million Jigawa students who need secondary education, we can consider them extremely inadequate to serve the large population. More than 3 million citizens of Jigawa are under the age of 15, and 50% of them have reached secondary school age. Selected elementary high schools will be upgraded and upgraded to senior high schools, while new ones will be built periodically. In each senatorial district, Insha Allah we will build an international standard mega high school that will deal with all Science, Arts, Business and Technical subjects.

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Islamic education has received much attention since the return of democracy in 1999 in Jigawa state, but more needs to be done in this regard. Currently, most Islamiyya schools operate independently of government supervision, in fact only a small fraction of them are formally recognised. Our vision is to give them the same priority as Western education. With the help of Islamic scholars and other stakeholders, we are going to embark on the standardization of the Islamiyya curriculum as the basis for the full formalization of Islamic education in the state. God willing, we will have a policy to guide the operations and strengthening of Islamic schools throughout the state.

In my next article, I will highlight my plans for girls’/women’s education; reactivation and strengthening of mass education and nomadic literacy; special scholarship for professional programs and top graduates and improvement of teacher welfare.

tomorrow belongs to God

©Santurakin Dutse

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