By: Ibrahim U. Boyi
I am not an official of the Bauchi State Government to begin with; I am an ordinary civil servant though it is no longer a secret, I have never intended to make it one nor will I ever shy away from the fact that His Excellency the Deputy Governor, who was once the Honourable Commissioner of Education simultaneously, considers me to be a close friend of his but I view our relationship from a different angle; yes, we do exchange banters and whatever friends do; but I take that as his unimaginable sense of humility. To me he is a great mentor from whom I learn a lot of things in all spheres of human existence.
Notwithstanding my relationship with him, I am still an ordinary civil servant, though I enjoy so many personal favours from him which I shall never be able to give back except in goodwill; but that is personal, if he deliberately errs in public service delivery, I would be the first vuvuzela to disturb him; who should have been afraid of associating himself with the government; but let come what may; I am not associating myself with the government, but with the truth.
This, I think, stems from my training both at home and school; at home, my father never gave the slightest tolerance to dishonesty, one rather admits his crime and plead for mercy than try to cover it with a lie.
In school, my training was based on science, theoretical and mathematical science for that matter; an endeavour whose sole aim is to discover the truth about the Universe as a whole and every single phenomenon within itin particular. This search for the truth wouldn’t allow me to be a cheap commodity for any politician except for his sincerity of heart and goodwill to humanity.
These two trainings turned me into a loyal servant of the truth. Whoever wants to get me hurt, should simply tamper with the truth or try to manipulate it for selfish reasons; this is like revealing my Achilles’ heel to the public. I hate disinformation with all my heart and soul; if there are any things to which I can freely apply the word, hate; disinformation is at the forefront of their list.
I have realised that the entire education team, the Former Commissioner of Education, Engr. Nuhu Gidado, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Alhaji Nasiru Yalwa, the Chairman of the Special Schools’ Management Board, Alhaji Yakubu Ibrahim Hamza and, ultimately, their overall Principal, Governor Abdullahi Abubakar Esq. are not concerned with eye service, so they have been overhauling the education sector without much noise or publicity.
But the spate of disinformation is becoming so high that it deeply irks my core essence to the extent that it can cause me personal damage if I do not come out to tell the real truth and clarify the matter as it is for good public information.
So I decided to personally dedicate myself to studying the education sector by personal see for yourself visits and interviews, being a teacher my self, I also interviewed some students. What I found out was a remarkable speed in the progress of education in the State to the extent that I clearly stated on my Facebook and Twitter pages that Bauchi State is soon going to be delisted from the so called Educationally Less Developed States, ELDS. That is a statement of scientifically weighed fact and whoever disputes it should, please, have the patience to wait until the next ten to fifteen years, except if another government comes in and decides to discontinue the programme, something we shall never accept as citizens. My statement will then be worth a Nobel Prize in prediction if there were to be anything like that.
In the production of everything, including, of course, educated people; infrastructure is invaluable.
There are astonishingly large number and gigantic projects going on not only at the top of the pyramid but right to the very bottom. “The Pyramidal Approach” is a term coined by His Excellency the Deputy Governor, Engr. Nuhu Gidado, when he chaired the Taskforce on Education established and inaugurated by His Excellency Governor Abdullahi Abubakar Esq. in March, 2016. It was there that, as the Chairman, he emphasised the pyramidal approach which means that for maximum and effective impact, we should start with those schools that needed only little touches to bring them to maximum functionality and then the effort should subsequently trickle down the pyramid.
All members accepted and appreciated the concept and, at the end of the work, we submitted to the Governor a report based on that principle; and the government has so far been faithful to our recommendations.
As I said earlier, His Excellency Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar gave me the privileged opportunity to serve as the Assistant Secretary of that high powered committee. Among some of the strategies we used in the committee was to humbly ask other reportedly successful states on how they achieved their much taunted progresses. We dispatched members to various states; and, again I had another privilege of being assigned along with a respected elder statesman, Alhaji Ali Umar Misau, fondly called A. U Misau; we visited Kano and Jigawa States with him.
Being the Assistant Secretary, I had the opportunity to play a very significant role in the compilation of the final report that was handed over to His Excellency the Governor. I can, therefore, morally claim to be in a position to describe the strategies employed by the Bauchi State Government towards the improvement of education in the State, and my see for yourself visits are providing me with a practical and first hand or empirical knowledge on what is actually taking place on the ground. That is the scientific method in action.
To describe vividly, in words, the projects going on in the various schools is a very difficult task; but I am dealing with quantum too.
However, for better understanding and appreciation, I refer the reader to my previous article titled “Photo News On The Development Of Education In Bauchi State In The Past Two Years”. It contains solely the pictures and captions of the projects going on and those that are completed in Government College Toro and Government Girls’ College Kafin Madaki.
However, I intend to provide you with facts and figures as much as I can in this article even if it would take me a long series to spare the reader from having to read a ‘lengthy’, verbose article before getting the real picture of the situation. Because, for me, the truth is worth even a lifetime not just the time to sit down on my desk to write a series of articles.
In the first place, when appointedas the Honourable Commissioner of Education; His Excellency the Deputy Governor, Engr. Nuhu Gidado emphasised on improving the quality of the quality assurance unit; that is the Monitoring and Evaluation, M&E unit of the Ministry. He emphasised that teachers, inspectors and coordinators must all be on their toes for maximum input. He did justice to them by not asking them to kill an elephant with a needle and a mosquito with an axe. He provided them with working materials suitable for every situation and terrain.
He first reduced the redundant, politically created Zonal Offices which were of no use whatsoever except as dumping grounds for politically unfortunate senior staff to inspectorate units. He then distributed ten brand new Toyota Hilux vehicles and thirty new motorcycles for inspection purposes; that means even schools that are inaccessible to motor vehicles can now be accessed by motorcycles. The overhaul of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit did, in no small measure, improve the quality of teaching along the height of the pyramid; this is a measure that positively impacted on all not only the tip of the pyramid as he emphasised that the pyramidal approach did, in no way, mean neglecting the bottom of the pyramid until their turn of gradual trickling down of services comes.
He believes that instead of putting twelve items in twelve places which would not produce any significant outcome in the end, it is better to put the twelve items, whatever they are, in two places so that each one gets six; that would produce a tremendous effect as we are now seeing. The fact 89% to 90% of Bauchi State students who acquired adminssions into universities are products of the “Model School”.
But it is not twelve noon yet, at twelve noon, the sun will shine on every other object on earth as far our horizon.
It is a fact that a learner needs comfort in order to absorb the lesson that is being taught to her by the teacher.
But we all know that the previous administration turned it customary that all students in public secondary sat on dirty, dusty and dilapidated floors to receive lessons. Bauchi state government could not tolerate that, in the first phase of a furniture provision project which he approved, the contract for the construction of ten thousand, 10, 000 desks was given and the production is already going on rapidly with seven hundred desks already delivered to schools.
No student in Bauchi State shall ever sit down on the floor to receive lessons again.
Again, the Chairman of the Special Schools Management Board told me that they prudently utilised the limited funds at their disposal to provide every single teacher with a reference material suitable for the subject he teaches.
This was confirmed to me by the Vice Principal of the Government Girls’ College, Kafin Madaki in person of Hajiya Jamila who also told me that throughout her teaching career, she had never seen an administration that was concerned about education as the present one.
I tried to remind her of Col. Oladapo Bamigboye, but she summarily dismissed that as a child’s play when compared this one adding that there had never been a government that awarded a contract so huge as to completely “overhaul” a school as this one.
The act of putting twelve in two places is hereby practically confirmed. “I have never witnessed so much work going on in one school” she said.
On the other hand, teachers’ welfare is being given maximum attention; one can interview any teacher and if the teacher is an honest and a do well person without political attachment, would confess that they have been recently smiling from molar to molar whenever their alerts enter because positive changes are seen.
This inspires or motivates the teachers to first respect their jobs and then have the necessary self esteem required to their hearts and souls to doing the work as best as they can.
One thing that may make some teachers unsatisfied is their own failures not the fault of the government; this is because we always remain unable to look at the mirror with utmost sincerity. It is about a statutory allowance known as the TSS allowance.
This allowance is to be enjoyed only by teachers who are duly qualified and registered by the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria, but investigation revealed that even some people carrying out administrative duties and who do not know the way to any classroom had been enjoying this allowance which is meant to motivate people acquire professional teaching qualifications.
That was a gross act of corruption which the APC government of Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar Esq. and Engr. Nuhu Gidado could not tolerate.
Therefore, at the last verification exercise for teachers; when I was still a secondary school teacher, my humble self was asked “did you obtain an NCE before your degree qualification?” I honestly answered ‘no’. “Have you acquired a PGDE or any professional diploma in education after graduation from the university?”, ‘no’. “Is your degree physics/education or pure physics?”. ‘My degree is physics and electronics’. A resident of Bauchi said
Ibrahim U. Boyi