Kebbi State, UNICEF Mobilises Traditional Leaders to Drive Enrollment Campaign …..Proposes Law to Compel Parents to Enroll their Wards

By Alex Uangbaoje, Birnin Kebbi

As part of measures to increase school enrollment in Kebbi State, the State Universal Basic Education Board SUBEB) in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Educate A Child (EAC), project, on Wednesday organized a State Consultative Forum with Emirs and Traditional Leaders in the state.

The essence of the forum was to provide a platform for the Chairman of Traditional Council in the state to mobilize fellow traditional leaders at state, local government and village level to buy in and support Enrolment Drive Campaign in the state.

Group photograph of Traditional and Religious Leaders during State Level Consultative Forum on Enrolment Drive and EAC Campaign 2018

Some of the solutions identified for the Enrolment Campaign to succeed in the State as suggested by participants are; “the need for the state to enact a law that will compel the parents to enroll their school age children into schools.

“Teachers’ quality and their welfare should be taken seriously in order to restore standard of education. Learning environment must be conducive to attract children and encourage parents to enroll them. Government must be seen discharging its own obligations towards educational development.”

Earlier, the state Commissioner of Basic Education, Muhammadu Magawata Aliero said the decision to task traditional institutions to take ownership and move enrolment drive campaign in their domain was the best and expressed hope that it would lead to success at the end.

In his Welcome Address, Permanent Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, State Universal Basic Education Board, Alhaji Balarabe Abdulmumin, expressed excitement with the huge turn up by the traditional fathers, saying, it is an indication that the traditional institutions in the state have already keyed into the Enrolment Drive Campaign.

On his part, Isa Usman, Project Coordinator, EAC/UNICEF Kebbi State, revealed that UNICEF and Qatar Foundation were responsible for EAC project in Nigeria. According to him the project is located in Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara states, but Kebbi state is enjoying the lion share of the intervention and for that to whom much is given much is expected.

He added that a lot have been invested in Kebbi state through teachers’ training, training of school-based management committees/center-based management committees (SBMC/CBMC), School Improvement Grants, Cash Transfer Programme and Community School micro grants. However, it was still a concern in term of Enrolment and Attendance hence this calls for innovative strategies to address issue of OOSC squarely.

Chairman Council of Chiefs in the state, the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Iliyasu Bashar, appealed passionately to other emirs to do all they could to ensure the success of the campaign.

He stressed the need for traditional institutions to support all actions of the campaign; engage government to provide fund for the campaign and school development. Play their fatherly roles and responsibilities for better societies.

The Emir, added that he was optimistic that since the campaign for polio eradication has succeeded, that of enrolment drive would also be a success by the grace of Almighty God.

The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Chairman in the State, Isa Umar Gwandu, who expressed disappointment over the low level of enrollment despite the large amount of money EAC/UNICEF has sunk into the state, noted that NGN8, 000.00 Cash Transfer Programme to poor families, NGN250, 000.00 school improvement grant, and NGN1, 000.000.00 school micro grants are enough support that would encourage enrolment rate in the state.

He also assured that long-awaited home-grown school feeding programme would be launched in the state by the president when schools resume in January 2018.

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