Also to achieve its desired objectives in re-branding the sector, the state government had budgeted to the sector a total of N20.55 billion, which is an equivalence of 26.8% of the total annual budget of the state. This is over and above the long agitated 26% of budget allocation to the sector by all governments based on the UNESCO standard.
Recently, the state government approved the sum of N3.8bn for the renovation of 788 stormed-damaged schools across the state. The exercise tagged “Mass intervention” will give a new look to the primary and junior secondary schools that were damaged by storm in some local governments are as of the state.
On the scholarship allowances Pyramid Trust observed that the state government has within its two years in office expended over N550 million. Pyramid Trust reliably gathered that, when the present administration came on board, it doubled the scholarship allowances being given to the students of tertiary institutions.
Apart from doubling the scholarship allowances, government also introduced yet another package of scholarship to particular portions of students that excelled in various fields of their educational carriers. For instances it is now a policy in Jigawa that any student that graduates with first class will be sponsored by the state government to further his/her postgraduate studies in Europe.
In addition Pyramid Trust further learnt that, any student that also excels in core subjects like science, engineering and or Information Technology would be encouraged by the government and through a special scholarship package to further his/her study abroad.
In its first year in office, the government has sponsored 37 students to Singapore for the completion of their degree programmes while 37 additional students are expected to enjoy similar gesture this year according to the state commissioner of education, Professor Ruqayyah Ahmad Rufa’i. She told Pyramid Trust that, all necessary arrangements had been concluded for their take-off to Singapore for their studies.
Professor Ruqayyah also hinted our reporter that some of the students that were sent to Singapore last year had completed their degree programmes and would soon return back to Nigeria, saying two of them are processing with their Masters Degree in the same country. She further hinted that, under the present administration, education at all levels was also free for all handicapped students of Jigawa state.
Interestingly, it is not only students of western education that are benefiting from this kind of gesture from the government, students of Qur’anic and Tsangaya schools have also benefitted from it. Currently, winners of the 2007/2008 National Qur’anic recitation competition from Jigawa state are studying in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan and Malaysia under the sponsorship of the state government.
According to the education commissioner, government had made it a policy that winners of this competition from Jigawa state would continue to be sponsored by the state government to further their education abroad annually.
In addition to that, the Executive Secretary of the state Scholarship Board, Alhaji Babangida Husaini also told our reporter that, all female students in Jigawa state were expected to enjoy free education at all tertiary institutions of the state starting from this year. The board’s Secretary explained that, the programme was aimed at increasing the ratio of enrolment of girls into the tertiary institutions at least by 30 per cent annually.
Alhaji Babangida noted that, the present administration was concerned about the dwindling number of female enrolment into the tertiary institutions in the state, hence, the need for this kind of programme to encourage parents to allow their daughters to study at tertiary levels.
He pointed out that, already female students were enjoying free registration at tertiary institutions as well as acquiring free education in both primary and secondary schools across the state. He added that, government had so far spent over N500m as internal scholarship and over N300m as external scholarship respectively.
Pyramid Trust also observed that, government had also introduced Jigawa state education day. What is normally being done while celebrating the day, include among other things inviting stakeholders in the sector to review failures and successes recorded in the educational sector during the year under review with a view to mapping out modalities that will move the state forward educationally. Although the government did not fix specific day for such, the celebration is being conducted after every May Day celebration.
During the 2009 Jigawa State education day, the state governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido affirmed that educating Jigawa citizenry was the total responsibility of his administration. “This is consequent upon realizing that, Jigawa is far behind its counterpart states and in fact listed as one of the most educationally disadvantaged states in the federation”, he said.
Governor Lamido however, noted that, the priority being accorded to education sector by his administration was not a coincidence, but rather a deliberate effort to pursue the principles and goals of educating the people of the state to enlighten and empower them to overcome all sorts degradation surrounding them.
“It is also the commitment of this government to re-inculcate moral, religious and academic excellence among its children by promoting gender equality, uplifting the Qur’anic Tsangaya schools, Nomadic and adult education respectively,” assured Lamido.
The governor recalled that, it was the ideology of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not only in Jigawa State but in all the states where the party was governing to redeem the people from all forms of vices such as poverty, diseases, exploitations and other forms of inhuman practices.
“For any administration to fight such vices, it must make education its top priority because it is only through it that the populace could be redeemed and emancipated. Therefore, it is now our duty to tenaciously pursue the uplifting of education at all levels in the state” declared the Governor.
Governor Lamido therefore enjoined Jigawa indigenes including traditional rulers, religious leaders, elders, youths, groups as well as the private sector to fully support the government to enable it see the light of the day in its struggle towards improving the sector.
In her remarks, the state commissioner for education, Professor Ruqayyah said the administration had been spending huge money on education with a view to transforming the sector. According to her the sector nearly collapsed before the coming of Governor Lamido’s administration.
Professor Ruqayyah further explained that, apart from day-to-day running cost and salary, government had spent a total of N13.4 billion. She explained further that in 2007 over N3.7bn was spent, N7.8 billion in 2008 and N1.7 billion respectively.