Gov AbdulRazaq pledges to ramp up school enrolment
• As FG launches campaign to tackle out-of-school children in Kwara
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday said his administration’s investments in the education system of the state are fast yielding positive results, noting that this has continued to improve public school enrolment in the state.
He said the government birthed an e-learning system in basic schools to impart digital skills and improve learning outcomes, while boosting the capacity of teachers for maximum service delivery.
The Governor spoke in Ilorin, the state capital, at the official launch of the National Campaign on Out-Of-School Children and Distribution of School Materials to selected Out-Of-School Children (OOSC) in Kwara State.
“The introduction of the e-learning system by our government to our schools through the establishment of digital literacy centers and KwaraLEARN innovative teaching techniques in education, as well as the school feeding programme have not only reduced the pressure on the parents but also increased enrolment and motivated the pupils/students to be regular in the school,” according to the Governor who was represented by his Chief of Staff Prince AbdulKadir Mahe.
The term "Out-Of-School Children" refers to children of primary or secondary school age who are not enrolled in a formal educational institution or who are deprived of the opportunity to access quality education and at the risk of missing out on valuable learning experience and skill development.
AbdulRazaq said the government will double down in pushing policies and programmes that will continue to make the learning environment attractive and ensure that no Kwara child is left out of school.
The Governor described the step to eradicate out-of-school children in Nigeria as unique and thanked the Federal Ministry of Education for picking Kwara as one of the first states to benefit from the national programme.
“It is my sincere hope and aspiration that the overall target of this campaign will lead to an improved enrollment of school children and eradicate the menace of out-of-school children in our society,” he said, urging parents to key into the initiative.
At the event were some federal and state governments officials, royalties, educationist, school heads and headteachers from across local governments of the state.
The Emir of Ilorin Dr. Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari CFR was represented by Balogun Gambari Ilorin Alhaji Muhammad Adebayo, who was accompanied by other chieftains of Ilorin Emirate.
Minister of Education Prof Tahir Mamman, for his part, said research studies indicate that Nigeria accounts for one out of every five out-of-school children in the world and 45% of out- of-school children in West Africa, saying this ranking is disturbing and unacceptable for a country regarded as Africa's largest economy.
Prof Tahir, who was represented by Dr. (Mrs) Olatunji David, said the federal government is mindful of the danger of the out-of-school children phenomenon and urged all key stakeholders, including civil society organizations, community and religious leaders, to act fast in checking the trend.
“Stemming the tide of out-of-school children is a task that this government seeks to accomplish. This is because we are mindful of the spiral effects of having a large number of uneducated population," he said.
"One of the implications is that Nigeria will constantly produce miscreants who are ready tools in the hands of criminal gangs."
He also appealed to all good spirited individuals within the state to aid the less privileged in communities by adopting the children and youths who are of school age and supporting their education.
The Minister praised Governor AbdulRazaq for his government’s commitment to changing the fortune of education in the state.
Kwara State Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development Hajia Sa'adatu Modibbo kawu, ìn her submission, called on the federal government to continue to give Kwara a priority in its dealings with states, given its (Kwara) sterling record of performance in basic education programmes.
“You must have been receiving records of performance of Kwara state in basic education, and you will discover that we are not lagging behind. I am appealing that Kwara State should always be given priority based on our track record of performances," she said.
Chairman, Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (KwSUBEB) Prof Sheu Raheem Adaramaja said the pride of any society depends largely on the structure, status and achievement of its basic education, acknowledging the exemplary commitment of Governor AbdulRazaq to the sector.
He said the administration has invested so much in school infrastructure and human capital development, and in the welfare of teachers and non-teaching staff to motivate higher productivity in schools.
He listed poverty, distance to schools, cultural norms, influx of immigrants, inadequate infrastructure and lack of awareness by most parents as some of the factors that contribute to the growth of out-of-school children.
He appreciated the Governor for doing so much to turn around the basic education in the state, saying history will never forget him.
UBEC Programme Coordinator for Kogi State Mall. Ibrahim Yusuf commended the steps so far taken by Governor AbdulRazaq to change the faces of education sector in Kwara, particularly the regular payments and judicious use of UBEC counterpart funds.
Yusuf called on parents and guardians to build a better future for their kids by enrolling them in schools, and requested the state government to start taking legal actions to discourage parents who, for one reason or the others, prevent their kids from attending schools.
Highlight of the occasion was the symbolic presentation of school bags and other educational items to the school pupils.
Atere Abiola Ameenat
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