By Mansur Ali Mashi
The current APC government in Katsina state under the leadership of governor Aminu Bello Masari came to power on the mantra of change with restoration as the key agenda.
Indeed, the idea was to restore the lost glory of Katsina state and key among this restoration agenda is education.
More than any sector, education suffered worst neglect within the last eight years of the immediate past administration in Katsina state as a result of which the present administration inherited a dying sector that was almost on its way to the mortuary.
For the records, the Governor Aminu Bello Masari led administration inherited over three thousand dilapidated primary and secondary schools scattered all over the state.
In most of these schools, the environment is not in any way conducive for learning even as the hostels are no better than accomodations in the prisons.
It is on record that Governor Masari allocated the lion share of his first ever budget- the 2016 budget- to education, as part of his resolve to address the challenges bedevilling this all important sector in the state.
Indeed, Governor Masari, has for the umpteenth time, reaffirmed the need for government at all levels to accord top most priotity to education insisting that such was the only way out of Nigeria’s quagmire.
Governor Masari whose imprint in reawakening the dying education sector of Katsina state is too glaring to be ignored said education was all the nation needed to address all its challenges.
To underscore the importance of education, the peoples Governor as Masari is widely called, said “Africa is facing security threats and the sure way of confronting it is through education”
Continuing, he said “There is no way you can even manage population without education, we cannot improve our agricultural output, boost commerce or enhance security without education”.
He noted with emphasis that as a nation, Nigeria must accord priority to education so as to compete favourably stressing that “without sound education, we cannot make good use of our potentials in different areas including the fact that we are a huge market”
“To attack poverty, you must address education. We are where we are because of the collapse of our education system” the governor has said in one of his meetings with stakeholders on how to move the nation forward.
To make good his commitment, the Katsina state governor approved the release of funds for the aggressive repair of schools as part of an overall plan to reposition the education sector and restore its lost glory all over the state.
As at last count, no fewer than 15 schools have undergone full rehabilitation in the first phase including construction of additional class rooms. There is also the construction of new day secondary schools in Kaita and Faskari.
But more than anything else, the state government has awarded contract for the construction of one block of two classrooms and, general rehabilitation including of course, undertaking wholistic rehabilitation of 1300 all of which have reached eighty percent completion.
Good enough, plans have reached advanced stage for the aggressive repairs of the second phase of schools earmarked for total rehabilitation under the education restoration agenda.
There is no gain repeating the fact that education is the key to every development efforts. Indeed, it is in appreciation of this time tested fact that the Katsina state government is living no stone unturned in aggressively addressing the challenges of education.
The governor appreciates the fact that a conducive learning environment and a motivated teacher is central to addressing the rot of education and hence, to address this, he is steadily embarking on repairs and construction of new schools, and, further boosting the capacity of teachers while recruiting more to fill in the apparent teacher gap that exists in the state.
Capacity building and training for teachers has never recieved the kind of attention it currently receives and, right now, mechanisms are being put in place for the recruitment of three thousand teachers to shore up the apparent gap.
In Katsina state, what we are witnessing is slow and steady progress in repositioning the education sector. We are optimistic that with sustenance which is guaranteed under this administration, the next few years will see Katsina take its pride of place in the education sector as a better and secured future would have been built for our children.
– Mashi is the special assistant to governor Masari on Radio Monitoring