Aliyu Nuhu, a prominent Northern politician and businessman has said Nigeria still has a long way to go if its standard of education is to be compared with the rest of the world. This weekend Nuhu said the trajectory of Northern educational problem was that out of the 5 million Nigerian kids outside primary schools, 80 per cent were in the North.
He said every corner of the North one was faced with almajiri kids, who were denied education by the negligence of the Northern governments. “Something is terribly wrong with Northern governors, who could not in all their meetings declare primary education free and compulsory in their respective states,” he said.
Nuhu, however, commended the efforts of the Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who he said had taken bold initiative to arrest the dearth of primary school education in the state. The Kano State Government has embarked on massive construction of classrooms everywhere in the local governments; primary education is now free with books, uniforms and school feeding.
“There are also vehicles to convey children to schools with emphasis on the girl-child education. There is creation of new university, while a lot of youths are sent abroad to study first degrees, masters and doctorate to close the gap of manpower deficit in hospitals and schools. The government is also planning to legislate against almajiri and make primary education compulsory.
“Kwankwaso remains the only Northern governor rising to the educational challenges of his state and I salute him for that,” he said. He also lauded the governor in his vision towards building roads and opening new cities.
“A sort of revolution is taking place and I wonder what other Northern governors are doing with their resources.”
Back to education, Nuhu said the United Nations World Economic Forum and other global bodies usually looked at primary school enrolment to arrive at the conclusion of how a nation would look like in the next 20 years.
“If children are attending primary schools, it simply means that in future, that country can have doctors, engineers and teachers. If the children are not attending classes then in future you will have charlatans, fanatics, cart-pushers etc.
The UN wants countries to spend 30 per cent of their national budgets on education and Nigeria has never done that, including the state governments.
“The standard of Nigerian education, whether North, South remains virtually the same. We are not even teaching the right courses that can lead us to development. Science, technical education and IT courses are reigning in the world and we are here teaching basic arts and commerce subjects.
The universities are still the old-styled schools that run without specialisation. In the developed world, universities are becoming more specialized like IMT (management university), Harvard (business school), MIT (technology institute), Yale (Law), John Hopkins (medicine).
“Even courses offered in developed world are more relevant to modern needs like BSc Perfumery, Btech auto design, Robotic engineering, catering, nutrition and dietetics etc. You can’t read such courses and be unemployed.”