Focus More On Educational Development – Stakeholders Tells Northern States 

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By: Mayen Etim

KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Stakeholders in the education sector have urged Northern States government to make education top priority so as to tap on the gains of literate and skillful population.

The call was made at a two-day Northern Nigeria Traditional Leaders Conference discussion on key strategies and actions to address the problem of out-of-school children in the region on Thursday in Kaduna.

Malam Bello Kagara of Universal Basic Education Commission, (UBEC) said that governments at all levels must make education a key priority to address the myriads of problem affecting the sector.

According to him, governments must improve budgetary allocation to the sector and ensure prudent use of resources for any meaningful improvement to take place.

Kagara also said that there must be consensus and change of attitude among family and caregivers toward educating their children, particularly in Northern Nigeria.

“There is no agenda for the development of societies in the North and that is why the people do not really pay attention to educating their children for the development of the region,” he said.

The UBEC official also said that the rich in the North do not have any form of programme to support the education of their communities, stressing that this must change.

He called for the establishment of Northern Nigerian Rapid Response Foundation, with specific focus on the education of children and youth in the region.

UNICEF Chief of Education, Mr Terry Durnnian, said that it wasn’t enough to raise awareness on the gains of education, stressing that government must be pushed to focus key attention on educational development.

Durnnian, however, noted that what should count should not be about what government said, but more about what government does in education.

Also, Dr Hussaini Abdu, African Director, Plan International, also said that enough resources must be channeled toward the educational development of the people.

Abdu also emphasised the need to intensify the integration of Islamic education with formal education to equip children and break the divide encouraging out-of-school phenomena.

“This is because given children only Islamic education would not give them the needed opportunity to respond to the economic needs and realities of the society.

“Government at all levels must find alternative means of raising resources to fund education,” he said.

Dr Usman Bugaje, a former Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, equally called for reorientation to stop families from giving birth to children they cannot adequately care for.

“It is only in the North that parents give birth to children and send them to the streets to fend for themselves. Parents must learn to give birth to the number of children they can care for.

“In this part of the country, children are growing without basic family support which continues to affect the ability of children to get the basic education they need to live productive lives,” Bugaje added.

The conference was organised by Federal Ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education Commission, National Commission for Mass Education and Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development in collaboration with UNICEF.

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