By Hussaina Yakubu
The Kaduna State Government said on Wednesday that it would spend more than N45 billion on education as part of efforts to raise the standard of the sector in the state.
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i disclosed this when he received the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, in Kaduna.
He said that the government would use part of the fund to improve the capacity of teachers.
According to him, the government is also engaged in direct recruitment of 2,200 teachers to teach English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and ICT in secondary schools.
“What we inherited was a situation in which 42 per cent of our teachers were not qualified to teach and when we tested them on the same common entrance exams that primary six pupils take, more than 42 per cent failed.
“We are doing something about raising teacher quality this year,’’ the governor said.
El-Rufa’i said that the introduction of free feeding in primary schools had raised enrolment from 1.5 million pupils in June 2015 to 2.1 million pupils in September 2016.
He explained that the school feeding programme was aimed at enhancing the nutrition of primary school pupils and reducing the burden on parents.
The governor added that the administration had expanded access to education by making the first nine years of basic schooling free.
He said that most of the 4,200 primary schools in the state were in various conditions of dilapidation when he assumed duty as governor.
“In most of these schools, at least 50 per cent of the pupils took lesson on the floor because there was no furniture.’’
He said that the government responded by introducing the schools rehabilitation programme to provide decent classrooms, furniture, water and toilet facilities.
El-Rufa’i said so far, about 500 of the schools had been rehabilitated at the cost of about N6 billion.
According to him, after a review of the cost and the demographic trend and the level of overcrowding in the classrooms, the government would now build multi-storey school blocks with more classrooms to accommodate 30 to 40 pupils per class.
“The rebuilding programme would be launched this year with support from the World Bank. We have also intervened to improve nutrition in senior secondary schools.
“We met a situation where students in boarding schools are being fed at N44 per student per meal and we have increased it to N100 per meal, meaning that each student is fed with N300 per day.
“Our youth need quality education, accessible health care, good governance and jobs.
“We are supporting entrepreneurship programme targeting university graduates and training them at the Kaduna Business School, where they acquire skills to produce business plans that can be funded by our intervention fund with the Bank of Industry (BoI).”
He further said that the state government had also launched a public service revitalisation and renewal project, to inject young people into the public service and make the service more dynamic and reflective of the community it is serving.