Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje's efforts in improving the quality of the basic education, among other areas of education, has been commended by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), through the Kano Team Leader of UNICEF Youth Advocacy group, Ni'imatullah Bala Umar.
The group is founded and funded by UNICEF through another carefully selected platform, High Level Women Advocates (HILWA), in collaboration with State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), in an effort to strengthen institutions, policies and programmes towards provision of quality basic education in the society.
Umar dropped the hint when they recently paid a courtesy visit to governor Ganduje, alongside HILWA, which was held at the governor's office, Kano, insisting that, both UNICEF and other stakeholders under this programme, are impressive of the state government's unrelenting efforts in improving the quality of education and across all other sub-sectors of the education.
UNICEF Youth group members are 100, who were drawn from all the 44 local governments of the state. They were trained by UNICEF on areas like 'Citizenship and Governance' among other areas. They were put together as advocates of girl child education and quality education in general.
"We are aware of all the good things your administration, governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, is doing to effectively and efficiently cater for the girl child education in the state. It is notifying to say that, all what we came to discuss with you about girl child education, we understand that you have gone beyond what we expected. You are really doing marvellous things in this area," says Umar.
HILWA Secretary, another platform created by UNICEF, Ladidi Sani Fagge, reveals that, "HILWA is created by UNICEF in 14 Northern states, where 10 women were selected from each state. We are established to help in the area of the education of our youth."
She added that, "After which we called youth to become advocates for girl child education and quality education. These young advocates are doing this as volunteers. They are not being paid for what they are doing. This is highly commendable and encouraging."
Fagge Impressed that Kano started ahead of other states, in areas that have to do with improved quality of girl child education, adding that, "UNICEF and all other stakeholders under our project commend governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for declaring free education for girl child. And for your declaration of free and compulsory basic education, from primary up to secondary, for all."
All the visitors believe that, Kano under Ganduje has gone far beyond so many states in the federation, in the area of education, "...our major concern," says Fagge.
In his response governor Ganduje assured that he would continue with the commendable efforts he had been doing since from his first tenure in office, emphasising that, "Had it been what we are doing now was started in the last 20 years, the story would have been different by now."
"Education is the responsibility for all. All hands must be on deck, so that we can get more enlightened society. Our effort is always geared towards making our population an asset not a liability," he said.
Governor Ganduje lists among others, that the sum of N1.2b was spent on training 25,486 basic education teachers, all in an effort to arrest the problem of unqualified teachers, since during his first tenure in office.
"When we came in, we found out that, over 25,000 basic teachers, that were representing 54% had no teaching qualification. So we started sending them for further training and retraining," he reveals.
While on girl child education and women-centred genuine empowerment, Ganduje said "During my first tenure in office, after recruitments at interval, we also recruited 1,539 female teachers from the 44 local government areas of the state."
Because of the importance attached to education, the governor discloses that, his administration pays over N2b monthly to over 50,000 teachers in the state.
Though "...this interactive session is for discussion surrounding basic education, but let me digress a little, to inform this important gathering that, under tertiary education, my administration paved way for the State Polytechnic to get accreditation of 66 academic programmes. Not to talk of other institutions of higher learning in the state," governor reveals.
In the area of the promotion of education at the grassroots and basic levels, governor Ganduje administration established Education Promotion Committees (EPC) across all the 44 local governments of the state, "...with this we were assured of making all hands on deck for the promotion of education in our state," he explains.
"At the inception of the EPC the sum of N440m was provided to the Committee as a start up. Which means N10m for each local government, as take-off grants. The Committee was able to rehabilitate 490 blocks, with 981 classrooms. The EPC also provided 7,915 three-seater desks including more instructional materials across the 44 local governments," the Governor disclosed.