Why Kano with­drew 37 over­seas’ stu­dents – Gov’s SA

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - By Mis­bahu Bashir

Dr. Usaini Ak­ilu Jarma is the Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to Kano State Gover­nor on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion. He ex­plains in this in­ter­view in Abuja, why the govern­ment to with­draw schol­ar­ships for 37 nurs­ing stu­dents study­ing abroad, among other is­sues. Ex­cerpts: Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, 60 per cent of the un­paid Wudil was given N520 mil­lion al­lowances it in­her­ited. There for ac­cred­i­ta­tion of cour­ses; were 1,130 stu­dents study­ing Kano State Polytech­nic, N160 var­i­ous cour­ses in for­eign mil­lion and Audu Bako Col­lege in­sti­tu­tions in 2015 but 815 of Agri­cul­ture N43 mil­lion. And re­turned in 2017. we con­tinue to col­lab­o­rate with We have 315 stu­dents in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment split into masters, doc­toral part­ners to achieve sus­tain­able and pro­fes­sional de­gree so­lu­tions to ma­jor prob­lems pro­grammes in China, In­dia, Cyprus, Malaysia, Uganda, Egypt, Su­dan and Niger and none has any is­sues with al­lowances. Over N4 bil­lion has been paid as tu­ition, ac­com­mo­da­tion, up­keep al­lowance and other charges for the stu­dents since June 2015.

Our in­ter­nal schol­ar­ship scheme is in­tact and stu­dents in var­i­ous higher in­sti­tu­tions in Nigeria get their al­lowances when they are due.

A to­tal of 54,862 stu­dents were screened and cleared for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 aca­demic ses­sion schol­ar­ship al­lowances be­tween March and May 2016 out of which 27,431 re­ceived N360,000,000 be­tween Septem­ber and De­cem­ber 2016 as al­lowances for the 2012/13 aca­demic ses­sion. The bal­ance of N317,589,092 will be paid as al­lowances for 2013/14 aca­demic ses­sion in re­spect to 27,413 stu­dents. The screen­ing ex­er­cise for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 aca­demic ses­sions has been con­cluded.

The school feed­ing programme is said to have de­fi­cien­cies. How has it been for Kano?

Ed­u­ca­tion is one of the items Gover­nor Ab­dul­lahi Umar Gan­duje takes se­ri­ously and the ad­min­is­tra­tion has taken steps to ad­vance learn­ing and im­prove the wel­fare of school chil­dren. Chil­dren need good nu­tri­tion to func­tion in school and govern­ment has been in­vest­ing huge sums of money on school meals. Over three mil­lion kids in pri­mary schools are fed nu­tri­tious meals daily at the cost of N496 mil­lion monthly.

The govern­ment has also re­solved to help teach­ers to stay pos­i­tive and boost their morale to en­cour­age stu­dents’ suc­cess. In this vein, govern­ment has been con­sis­tent in pay­ing the sum of N2.96 bil­lion monthly for ba­sic and sec­ondary school teach­ers in salaries.

We also found that about 2,500 teach­ers in pri­mary and ju­nior sec­ondary schools across the state re­quired rel­e­vant teach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions in their re­spec­tive fields. The gover­nor has in the last two years spon­sored the train­ing of th­ese teach­ers at the cost of N1.2 bil­lion. This in­cluded reg­is­tra­tion fees and other al­lowances. And so, with this al­ter­na­tive teacher cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ini­tia­tive, all the teach­ers in the state would have earned the ap­proved teach­ing cre­den­tials by the end of this year.

Again, el­i­gi­ble teach­ers in pri­mary schools have been given their sub­stan­tive pro­mo­tions and about N500 mil­lion was re­leased as their al­lowances in the last two years.

One of the ma­jor chal­lenges to pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in most states is age­ing and crum­bling school in­fra­struc­ture. Have you been able to fix that?

Govern­ment needs to play a role in de­vel­op­ing the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor and Kano has taken a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to over­come the prob­lems of in­fra­struc­ture. Th­ese steps have yielded good re­sults in many ways. The govern­ment has con­structed new lec­ture the­atres and rooms in all the higher in­sti­tu­tions un­der its watch and this will greatly im­prove and en­hance the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for our stu­dents.

The govern­ment has ap­proved over N5 bil­lion in the 2017 bud­get for projects and pro­grammes in state ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions. Funds have been pro­vided for ac­cred­i­ta­tion of cour­ses in higher in­sti­tu­tions. For in­stance, the Kano State and de­velop ex­per­tise.

The sum of N600 mil­lion was also ap­proved for coun­ter­part fund­ing of projects in­clud­ing monies to ac­cess grants for the Univer­sal Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion (UBE) con­struc­tion projects by World Bank and ca­pac­ity build­ing and train­ing pro­grammes with the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (DFID).

Ed­u­ca­tion pro­mo­tion com­mit­tees have been es­tab­lished in all the 44 lo­cal govern­ment coun­cils of the state, each com­pris­ing of the coun­cil chair­man, ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, imam, youth leader and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of school-based man­age­ment com­mit­tees. The com­mit­tees will iden­tify the im­me­di­ate needs of pri­mary schools and de­fine what ac­tion will be taken.

The com­mit­tees were given N10 mil­lion each which they uti­lized in the ren­o­va­tion of school build­ings and con­struc­tion of new class­rooms. This move will en­able schools to house more pupils and cope up with the in­creas­ing strength of stu­dents. It will fur­ther en­hance the pro­vi­sion of dy­namic in­ter­ac­tion be­tween stu­dents, teach­ers and con­tents.

Govern­ment ini­ti­ated a range of schol­ar­ships for Kano stu­dents to study abroad but there are al­le­ga­tions that the stu­dents were left to starve be­cause of un­paid al­lowances. What is the sit­u­a­tion presently?

This govern­ment is con­sis­tently pay­ing stu­dents’ al­lowances and has paid over

Some of the cour­ses pur­sued by stu­dents abroad are done in Nige­rian in­sti­tu­tions. Why go over­seas for them?

We found that few stu­dents were sent abroad to study the hu­man­i­ties and th­ese cour­ses thrive very well in our in­sti­tu­tions. But we have all paid their al­lowances.

There is the ru­mour that the state govern­ment with­drew 37 nurs­ing stu­dents from Egypt. What in­formed that de­ci­sion?

It is true that some stu­dents will re­turn home due to poor aca­demic per­for­mance but it was not the gover­nor that was be­hind the re­turn of the stu­dents. The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion headed by a com­mis­sioner sent a memo to the coun­cil in April this year stat­ing that 37 nurs­ing stu­dents out of about 137 Kano stu­dents in a for­eign univer­sity have poor aca­demic records and on that ground they should be asked to re­turn home.

The coun­cil de­lib­er­ated and ap­proved the memo and thus the de­ci­sion of the coun­cil will be im­ple­mented. It is the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry that mon­i­tors the stu­dents. The gover­nor has pledged to pay the out­stand­ing al­lowances of stu­dents abroad un­til they com­plete their stud­ies in 2018, 19, 20 or 21.

Dr. Usaini Ak­ilu Jarma

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