Yobe state had its own bitter taste of the Boko Haram insurgency, which destroyed many schools across the state. According to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, more than 1, 500 primary and secondary schools in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states had been destroyed and over 2, 295 teachers had been killed by the Boko Haram insurgents since 2014.
It is on record immediately Governor Mai Mala Buni took over the affairs of Yobe state, he unveiled his administration’s commitment towards improving primary and secondary education in the state and declared a state of emergency on education.
In spite of the financial challenges as the state wholly depends on monthly federation allocation, the Buni administration recorded tremendous achievements in revolutionising the education sector in the state. He convened the state’s first education summit which proffered solutions to the sector that fast tracked his administration’s goal in the development of the state education sector. In order to improve and encourage pupils’ enrolment in school in the state, HMB’s administration partnered with the federal government for the implementation of the Home Grown Feeding Programme.
It it on record that Yobe state is home to about a third of Nigeria’s 13.2 million out-of-school children. Thus, the Buni administration increased school enrolment in the state, school facilities burnt down by the Boko Haram insurgents were renovated, two model primary schools and two model junior secondary schools were established in each of the three senatorial districts to expand access to education in the state.
It is worthy to note that given Yobe state government’s concern over the systemic destruction and the targeting of educational facilities, it rehabilitated hundreds of schools, and new ones in the local government councils affected by the insurgency and other local government areas of the state have been constructed in line with the state of emergency declared by the administration on education. Also, new model schools were constructed in Damaturu, Gashua, Potiskum, Geidam, Nguru and Buni Yadi all the Buni administration’s effort to provide conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.
Teachers have been trained and retrained to enhance manpower requirements of the schools and thousands of fresh teachers have been employed. Despite the state’s lean financial resources, the administration procured and distributed textbooks, laboratory equipment and chemicals. Classrooms and office furniture were procured and distributed to schools across the state. The state’s higher institutions are not left out. In spite mountainous challenges facing the state, the administration has greatly support the state owned tertiary institutions to be centres of academic excellence, and also to produce adequate, trained and qualified manpower to serve the state and beyond.
In view of the great loss suffered from insurgents’ attacks on educational facilities across the state, the administration has moved the state away from educationally disadvantaged to an educationally prosperous one. The Buni administration soughtspecial intervention from the Federal Ministry of Education, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), and international organisations to support Yobe state government in its commitment to rebuild education in the state.
To be fair, government is not completely to blame for poor educational facilities, as communities and old students associations, in their own right, have a vital role to play in supporting their alma mater. Communities also need to support government’s efforts in delivery and improvement of education. There is need for old students associations to pay back what the government offered them as pupils during the good days instead of politicising the alleged lack of decent educational facilities in some schools they left.
In my view, the recent video posted on the social media by Government Secondary Fika Old Boys on school facilities was not in good faith. The old pupils should have shown what they offered to their alma mater before being critical of the Yobe state government’s efforts on development of school facilities across the state. In its totality, the posted video by the old students is nothing but looking for cheap popularity.
Government alone cannot provide educational facilities to all state own schools as there is need for total support of School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and old students associations, in every community. Fika Old Students Association and the like forgot that even before Buni came to power on May 29, 2019, the insurgents had destroyed many educational facilities in the state, making many pupils to abandon schools for their safety. In spite of this challange, Governor Buni displayed his political will towards educational development across the state.
In an ideal society, communities and old students associations complement govenment’s efforts in providing educational facilities in their immediate environment like what we seeing in the southern part of the country. It will be good for Fika Old Students Association to be bipartisan not to be critical of government’s efforts. It is a great insensitivity for them to blame the state government on decay of school facilities. What support have they offered to their alma mater in their capacities as old boys of Fika? Governor Buni deserves commendation for his concern on education.
Undeniably, the Buni administration took proactive steps to rehabilitate and equip to standard at least one science secondary school in each senatorial zone in the state. Communities and old students associations have a vital role to play in the provision of educational facilities and improvement of education – peasants, government, traditional and religious leaders all have a stake.
Abba Dukawa [email protected].