As the basic backbone of societal development, Education is one of the top most sectors that received priority from Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu-led administration.
The educational sector in Kebbi had suffered serious neglect by previous administrations.
However, the change mantra of Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has extended Midas touch to the sector. The story is now a happy one.The Kebbi State Government undertook massive renovation and reconstruction of new and existing primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across the state. This also involves training and retraining of teachers to improve the standard of teaching and learning in schools.
Since he took over the mantle of leadership of the state in 2015, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has ensured payment of scholarship to students studying at various institutions of higher learning, within and outside the state, including the payment of WAEC and NECO examination fees for secondary School students of the state. It is also on record that; the Kebbi Government had upgraded three higher institutions which are under the Ministry for Higher Education. The three institutions upgraded are Adamu Augie College of Education, Argungu, the Kebbi State College of Nursing Sciences and Midwifery, Birnin Kebbi and the College of Health Technology, Jega.
With the upgrade, all the institutions have been granted approval to offer degree programs, HND and National Diploma, ND.
Just recently, in December, 2021 to be precise, the Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu approved foreign training programme of two hundred and sixty two students of the state to study medicine and engineering courses, in India, Ukraine and Sudan. In order to make their stay in foreign land more easier as well as deepen their concentration on their studies,the Governor has also approved a total of one million, sixty thousand and seven hundred dollars for the programme to cover tuition fees, accommodation, feeding and modest pocket money.
This was announced by the Kebbi State Commissioner for Higher Education, Professor Mukhtar Umar Bunza . He said that in addition to that, approval has been given for an expenditure of three hundred and forty-five million naira to cater for logistics, including international and local air fares, visa processing fees, police screening, crime-free certification, drug-free certification and verification from Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The Commissioner added that fifty Six students of the total number would study medicine while others would study Para-Medicals and Engineering Sciences, which were not available in the state such as Radiography, Radiology, physiotherapy, Water Engineering and Quantity Survey.Professor Mukhtar Bunza highlighted that arrangements have already been concluded with the embassies of India, Ukraine and Sudan under which Kebbi State Government would pay full costs of sponsorship of the travelling students direct into the accounts of the foreign universities concerned in order to ensure transparency.
The Commissioner further said that the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, has granted approval to Adamu Augie College of Education, Argungu, to begin degree programmes in affiliation with Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto. Likewise, the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, has given permission to the College of Nursing Sciences and Midwifery, Birnin Kebbi to commence the award of National Diploma, ND, and the Higher National Diploma, HND to graduating students, he said.
Professor Mukhtar Umar remarked, that such monumental achievement was as a result of commitment of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to educational development through intensive and extensive investment in the sector.
He said that the regulating authority has accredited all programmes offered by the Adamu Augie College of Education leading to the award of degrees while similar accreditation was secured for courses of the College of Nursing Sciences for the award of HND.
In the same capacity, more than thirty three programmes of the Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, have received full accreditation from the National Universities Commission, NUC. According to the Professor ‘about one hundred million naira was expended on the accreditation exercise of the three tertiary institutions as approved by Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu ‘.
Out of desire by His Excellency to enhance easy access to university education among teeming qualified indigenes of Kebbi state, the Government of Kebbi State has facilitated the upgrading and transformation of the College of Agriculture, Zuru to a status of a full-fledged Federal University of Agriculture at ‘Zero Cost’ to the Federal Government of Nigeria. By this gesture, Kebbi State is now among the few states in Nigeria with two Federal Universities within its boundary. These efforts are additional to his earlier intervention in University Education when he secured the sum of ₦4billion for the establishment and full accreditation of the Faculty of Engineering at the Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero during his tenure as the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2011 to 2015. Afterwards , as the Executive Governor of Kebbi State, he is the first to honor the agreement signed between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), by releasing the sum of ₦419 million to Staff of the University as Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
This demonstration of patriotism, sagacity, and zeal serve to further exhibit the unwavering commitment of His Excellency to expansion and intensification of University Education in Kebbi State. This creative and innovative approach to the development of Higher Education sector is unprecedented in the history of leadership in Kebbi State.
Also under the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, from 2019 to date, a total of 518 new classrooms have been constructed while 1,058 classrooms have been renovated across the state. This was disclosed by Professor Sulaiman Khalid, the Chairman of the Board.
He further eloborated that to make the schools more conducive for learning, 42,244 furniture were provided and 450 units of WC toilets were constructed while138 boreholes were sunk in addition to providing 383 Wheel Dust Bins in order to improve water and sanitation in some schools.
The Kebbi SUBEB Chairman, Professor Sulaiman Khalid, attributed the success recorded in the Junior Secondary and Primary Education to the robust and proactive stance of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to ensuring sound and quality education to all Kebbi children.
It will be recalled that, even before he was sworn in as the governor of the state, he made numerous unscheduled visits to primary and secondary schools, as well as some tertiary institutions in the state, with a view to having first hand information and personal assessment of the schools in the state. In his Inaugural speech on the 29th May,2015, he decried, the educational sector of the state as being in shambles, schools over stretched without qualified teachers and structural infrastructure like classes, toilets and dormitories are in ruins over the years.”
To demonstrate his determination to overhaul the educational sector in the state, education received the highest allocation in his maiden budget. Governor Bagudu doled out over 5 billion Naira for the renovation of both primary and secondary schools in the state, including setting aside additional funds for the purchase of necessary learning materials in that same year to 2016.
After obtaining the data from schools and physical inspection of facilities, the Governor set the ball rolling in the educational sector by embarking on massive public schools rehabilitation to the tune of billions of naira, with the aim of improving and changing the educational sector, as well as making schools for students and teachers friendly for learning. The Kebbi State government had awarded a contract for the renovation of 25 secondary schools across the state. The schools cut across the six zones; Argungu, Birnin Kebbi, Bunza, Jega, Yauri, and Zuru. To further enhance teaching and learning in 2019, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu also approved the recruitment of three thousand (3000) teachers for schools across the state. Girls secondary Schools across the state from each of the 4 senatorial zones were provided with new buses to facilitate their movement, to take part in sports and extracurricular activities, within and outside the state.
YAHAYA SARKI, is the Special Adviser (SA) Media to Kebbi State governor