Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has said his administration has moved basic education from the near collapse state in 2019 with investments in infrastructure, recruitment of good teachers, and reinvigoration of the monitoring system in the schools.
Abdulrazaq, declared this at the education summit called to “analyse the current state of education in Kwara State and develop actionable plan to build a new generation of leaders who can hold their own anywhere in the world.”
“Two years down the road, my team and I are proud to report that the situation has changed. We have restored our relationship with key partners after years of blacklist. We have reshaped public perception about teaching by engaging the best minds into the system. Work is ongoing in some 600 basic schools to give our children a befitting learning environment,” he said.
“Our goal is to make public schools the first choice for all in terms of the quality and relevance of our infrastructure and teaching staff in the digital age. As a show of our commitment to education, we have recently surpassed the UNESCO budgetary threshold of 26%. Even so, it is clear that the government cannot do this alone.
“Huge gaps still exist. For instance, our recent school census across four local government areas show that 41% of our teachers are absent at their duty post. No single teacher was seen in 54 of the 368 schools sampled, while 23% of students on head teachers’ record were not in school during the census. Only 15% of the schools sampled were rated as needing no repair, implying that 85% of our classrooms require various forms of rehabilitation. The picture is bleaker when you consider availability or adoption of technology in our schools. The gender parity index for ratio of girls to boys in our school is another source of worry.
“So, we need everyone on board. We do not have all the answers. And we certainly do not have enough resources that will provide the right environment for every Kwara child to thrive in the new world, irrespective of their social standing.
“Already, we are building a legal framework to support our efforts. We now have a bill for a law to establish Kwara State Education Trust Fund. When passed, this fund will supplement the sector’s finance, promote technologies, and leapfrog the sector’s development through our Kwara Education Transformation Agenda (KWETA) plan,” the Governor said.
In his submission, the World Bank Senior Education Specialist Dr. Tunde Adekola commended the government for the initiative and its commitment of more than 25% UNESCO budgetary funding to education, adding that it must invest in technology, training and retraining of teachers, create a regime of incentives for good performance, and involve communities in its drive to transform education in the state.
“Government has to invest wisely and smartly to be able to secure the future of our children. There is also the need for a coalition between the state and non-state actors to chart a sustainable course for an improved education system. Teachers have to go through proper training and retraining to raise them professionally.
“Kwara State has the highest number of basic schools in the whole of north central. Kwara State has the least number of out of school children in the north central zone of Nigeria. Kwara State is one of those states that are investing more than 20% of its budget in education. Thank you Mr. Governor for the investment in education for Kwara State children.
“Kwara State is one of those states that is coming up from behind in accessing all the fundings in UBEC and is now investing in infrastructure and learning materials. All these things do not come by accident. That is what is called leadership. That is what we need at all levels in the state. That is why the governor brought all of us here to share knowledge and information, to see how we can make things better,” he said.