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Providing quality education amid insurgency in Yobe

The scale of destruction wrought by insurgency on education in Yobe State between 2010 and 2014 is to put it mildly, mind boggling. No level…

The scale of destruction wrought by insurgency on education in Yobe State between 2010 and 2014 is to put it mildly, mind boggling. No level of the educational system, from tertiary to primary schools, was spared. Statistics of material and human losses have been terrifying, with the death of students and teachers on the one hand, and the destruction of buildings, furniture and equipment on the other. At a point, all hope was about to be lost with closure of schools and reorganisation of the school calendar, as well as desertion of duty posts by teachers and supporting staff.
Against the backdrop of these challenges, the state government refused to be intimidated and gallantly embarked on a phased and methodical approach to breathe new life into a system that was tottering towards hopelessness and despondency, as it embarked on an aggressive mission of salvaging the sector. What follows is a summary of the achievements of the Yobe State government through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) during the period under review.
Construction of new classrooms, offices and stores was accorded topmost priority. The board constructed 259 blocks of 658 classrooms, offices and stores in primary and junior secondary schools (JSS) and another set of 158 blocks of two classrooms at the cost of N2.802 billion.
Similarly, 12 blocks of 72 classrooms were constructed at the cost of N300 million, as the board also  completed the building of boarding primary schools at Machina and Azbak in Jakusko local government area at the cost of N63.16 million and N37.42 million, respectively.
This was in addition to the building of 10 classrooms, offices, stores and a perimeter fence at Modu Mustapha primary school in Damaturu local government area at the cost of N41.51 million. There was also the renovation of laboratory and classrooms in Nayinawa primary school in Damaturu; and two blocks of six classrooms at Toshia primary school in Yunusari local government.
Also renovated were Dogon Kuka A Central Primary school in Fune local government; Gasamu boarding primary school in Jakusko local government, as well as 9 blocks of 18 classrooms at Waziri Ibrahim primary school Damaturu, at the cost of N87.34 million.
Eighty-two 3-hole VIP toilets, 103 3-hole VIP toilets and 20 4-hole VIP toilets were also constructed at the cost of N299.19 million during the period; while the sum of N69.17 million was expended on the procurement of ECCDE games equipment which were distributed to schools across the state.
Also, 2,089,000 textbooks and assorted library materials, supplied by UBEC, were distributed to primary and JSS, while a lot was also achieved in the area of community participation in the running of schools through Yobe SUBEB’s Self Help Project Initiative. About 170 self-help projects were carried out for the renovation of classrooms and procurement of furniture through UBEC Funded Intervention Fund.
Aware that no educational system can rise above the level of its teachers, the government has made efforts to provide teachers with a conducive working environment. Thus, in April 2014, 6,623 teachers were promoted, while 989 NCE teachers were employed to close the ever widening
pupils/student gap. Teachers’ salaries have been paid as and when due since the inception of this administration. Teachers have also been enjoying the new minimum wage since 2011.
Teachers are re-oriented periodically through capacity building, workshops, seminars and training courses to improve their performance and consequently enhance the quality of teaching and learning. Similarly, teachers are encouraged to remain in the service of the state and pursue in-service courses at universities, colleges of education and at NTI Kaduna.
In conclusion, government embarked on aggressive construction of staff quarters in schools to provide decent accommodation for teachers.
Balumi is head, public relations unit, Yobe SUBEB, Damaturu

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