On Yobe Spelling Bee competition

It gladdened my heart when I heard the story of how public school pupils thrashed private school students in a Spelling Bee Competition for Junior Secondary School Students across the 17 local government areas, organised by IPI in collaboration with State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

Interestingly, it’s found out that the two schools that emerged as the winners of first position were all from public junior secondary schools, namely, GDJSS Moi Mama Fika and GDJSS Yusufari.

This is a great testimony that the declaration of a ‘State of Emergency on Education’ by the Governor of Yobe State, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, is yielding positive results.

Here I can say that there is a strong message to parents who are spending huge amounts of money on their children in private schools.

Education is said to be the key to success. Education is an important issue in one’s life. Having education in an area helps people think, feel, and behave in a way that contributes to their success, and improves not only their personal satisfaction but also their community.

There’s no doubt that the quality of education in any country is one of the major keys to national development. The decline in the quality and standard of education in Nigeria is alarming and the leading causes of poor state of education in Nigeria and Northeast in particular can be seen as poor governance, corruptions, poor funding, neglect of the education sector, poor infrastructure and training facilities, poor teachers’ welfare, lack of dedication of teachers and high level of exam malpractices.

But the truth is that now the situation in Yobe state is quite unique as Governor Buni had earlier declared a state of emergency on the system.

I’m happy to say that the Buni administration has so far completed six model primary schools across six local government areas which include Potiskum, Bade, Gujba, Damaturu, Geidam & Nguru. Each of the schools has 56 classrooms,12 offices of staff, four computer centers and gatehouse.

The fact that most of the pupils in the state passed their West African Senior School Certificate (WASSCE) and National Examination Council (NECO) is something to say kudos to the state government.

The issue of holiday extension by SS3 students for extra lessons ahead of the examinations is indeed a great initiative of the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Muhammad Sani Idris Albulatory, for the students to excel with flying colours.

Yes, we cannot deny that there are some minor challenges facing the education sector in Yobe state.

These should be considered as major ones. It was found out in a survey conducted by a committee that decline in the role of traditional institutions had hastened the decay and led to low enrolment and retention, stressing that insurgency had prevented students from going to schools.

It was also gathered that teaching and learning environment in urban setting and LG headquarters are overstretched due to overcrowding, while rural areas have poor enrolment and retention.

We also need to consider that teachers were poorly trained, poorly remunerated and generally poorly looked after. There is no fringe benefit for teachers. It’s found out that 30 percent of the teachers in the state had no teaching qualification. The situation had contributed to poor students’ performance in SSCE, NECO and other examinations but we’re happy that the Ministry of Education has recently recruited qualified teachers through Teaching Service Board (TSB).

On a final note, I will say that both Zakariya and Asma’u (the winners) did not only make their parents and schools proud, but they also made the governor and the state government proud.


Abdulmumin Kolo Gulani,
Damaturu, Yobe state