In Nasarawa state, if there is any sector that suffers neglect is the education sector. When I joined the civil service of the state after my sojourn with the private school, I thought I’m in the place to be. I may not be fair to make a blanket statement on all regimes but wait a minute, I’ll not be wrong pointing out the contributions of the previous administrations of the past especially Democratic leaders of the state.
What defines a standard of education is when the infrastructures and human resources needed for adequate teaching and learning and also the turning over of well breed graduates equipped with the knowledge to improve the quality of life of their immediate family, community and state at large.
In 1999, when Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu came on board, he had a lofty plan for the sector, he started the revamping of the sector through massive recruitment of teaching and non teaching staff and also introduced rural allowances for teachers in the rural areas. He allowed for massive training and retraining and seminars for teachers. Most of the schools were sited with one infrastructure or the other, he established schools in almost every community and upgraded the old ones infrastructuraly and humanly too. When his tenure ended in 2007, the administration of Akwe Doma could not completed structures as started by the previous government. Adamu established virtually all the tertiary institutions in the state with the exception of the state College of education located in Akwanga.
The present administration of Alhaji Tanko Almakura came in as a result of what can be best described as a protest against the inattitude of the previous administration of Akwe Doma, people believed that the saviour has come to the state as we all clamored for change. Almakura’s government started well as all he did was the implementation of the minimum wage of 18 thousand and some road infrastructures. In education sector, he concentrated his efforts on the primary schools level, paying counterpart funds thereby obtaining UBE funds for infrastructures at the primary and junior secondary schools level, most of which are located at strategic areas and main roads for public glare, naming some to his name.
Almakura introduced free education in the state, paid NECO terminal examination fees for deserving students but that was shortlifted as he could not sustain it, in fact the last time he paid almost results into crisis as the results were withheld for months before he grudgingly paid for the exams.
The secondary schools sector of the state remain an eyesore as the state of infrastructures are in a serious dilapidation, the issue of free education is a mere political because it was only made to assuage the people of the state for their votes, immediately he won the election for his second tenure NECO payment stopped. Most schools today are shadows of themselves as most cannot afford the basic necessities like chalk, biros and books for the school, it takes magic for schools to give out results sheets to students as the government never supplied any. Boarding schools are the worst hit as only the schools that allow parents to bring foodstuffs can boast of three square meals, others that depend on the government go without food for weeks and can not boast of two meals per day.
Where the students sleep are so dehumanizing that some breeds of animals may not stay comfortable in it.
When this government came on board the twenty seven percent of their professional allowance was removed, the government that said it was going to supply books, drugs teaching and learning materials could not supply a biro any school. The various principals of schools cannot mend a common leaking zinc as they are no longer collecting any form of fee. Games, payment of bills on utilities, first aid kits are not available to Carter for the health needs of the students.
Today, the standard of education is worst than fallen as it tends to be existing only in people’s imagination. Promotion is automatic as long as the students attended the previous session he’s promoted. No dossiers which shows no results in most schools, the feeding is is heartbreaking, except for schools that the parents agreed to bring foodstuffs to compliment whatever the government provides.
I want to believe that education cannot be free, that is why someone would say “if you think education is expensive, try ignorant“. Subsidising the cost of education is the only solution by allowing parents to pay token to take care of the basic necessity of the students. The government need to put effective supervision mechanism in place, ensuring every penny collected counts.
The government as a matter of urgency start the process of schools renovation, especially senior secondary schools. The welfare of the teachers too should be given priority, as it stands today, teachers teach, write the examination for the students mark and the students claim the results.