Kaduna state is home to many northern elites. It also has its fair share of private schools, which like other parts of the country are more attractive to those with the resources to afford them, than the public schools. A good public education system, most especially the primary education is vital to the growth of any serious state/nation.
The continued backwardness of these arms of education has had negative effect on the country. The continuous neglect of public schools by elected government has led to gradual degeneration of the public school system, a trend the governor of Kaduna state, Nasiru El-Rufai wants to change.
The decision of the state government to implement the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004 has been a good step in the right direction. The Kaduna state government in collaboration GPE/NIPP with some organization, gave Headmasters and Headmistress the sum four hundred thousand naira (N400,000) each with an additional N400,000 to follow. The purpose of the funds is for the heads of the schools to tackle basic needs of the primary schools as they are in the system and know better where the needs are. This effectively removes any bureaucracy that is involved in accessing funds like this, if it were to go through the ministry of education.
Some of the items purchased with the funds by the heads of schools included mats, chalks and dusters, new black boards, roof, ceiling and floor repairs, books, toys for nursery pupils and many more.
You may ask, why direct cash transfer to Head of schools? And the answer simply is that apart from it reducing bureaucracy in the system, it will also engender effectiveness and may reduce corruption as those that are in the upper echelon will be able to supervise the heads of schools properly regarding the funds given out to the later. There will be no inflation of contracts and those in the ministry will also be unable to tamper with funds that are not in their care.
Implementing the UBE Act by previous administration has always being weighted down by corruption, thus, the pupils that should enjoy the provisions of the Act never taste the fruit.
Beyond the acquisition of these basic necessities for the schools, there is also the problem of the availability of schools to all students within the age bracket, especially in the urban areas where the population is much. The over population in most schools usually results to a lesser learning experience for both the pupils and the teachers too.
The female to male child school attendance ratio is also poor. Some families, most especially with illiterate parents still believe there is no need to educate the girl child, as she will end up in her husband’s house. Furthermore, poverty continues to be the mitigating factors against high rate of basic education among children as some parents prefer to utilize their children in bringing income to the home via hawking than to send them to school. In light of the additional cost of sending the child to school with uniform and other sundry expenses, it may easier for the parent to prevent their children from going to school.
Another reason for low enrolment, particularly in the North, is social predisposition. Most guardians prefer to send their children to Qur’anic schools as opposed to them having a Western system of education.
Free education is possible; it only requires stringent management for it to succeed. Northern governors need to do more to phase out Almajiris from the streets.