The Kano State Government and the French Embassy in Nigeria are set to develop the capacities of lecturers in higher institutions across the state by ensuring that they are ready to optimally discharge their responsibilities in quality education delivery.
The essence of the collaborative scholarship scheme, according to the coordinator of Kano/France Joint Scholarship Programme and former Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Higher Education, Dr. Hussaini Akilu Jarma, is to offer opportunities for leadership development through interactions with different cultures as well as gain self-confidence and life experience.
The scheme, he said, is already yielding results as over 32 graduate students have obtained master’s and doctorate degrees in science-related fields from different French universities.
The programmes batch of 10 lecturers from Kano University of Science and Technology, (KUST) Wudil, Yusuf Maitama Sule University (YUMSU) Kano, Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso, Kano (SRCOE), Kano State Polytechnic as well as Kano State College of Education and Preliminary Studies, have so far been nominated for the 2019/2020 session.
The candidates, on April 23, attended a workshop at the French Embassy, Abuja, organized in collaboration with the office of the SSA on Higher Education preparatory to their departure to France later this month.
Under the scheme, the French authorities are responsible for the payment of tuition fees annually, while the Kano State Government pays for accommodation, upkeep and travel expenses.
Altogether, the state has 42 lecturers that have benefitted from the scheme which Dr Jarma said has been adjudged the best in recent times and that Governor Ganduje will continue to provide more overseas training opportunities for academic staff in higher institutions.
The education authorities, Jarma said, have deployed a lot of effort to set high standards and ensure that students upheld them, adding that exam results in many institutions have shown a rise in top grades.
He said Kano State College of Education and Preliminary Studies for instance, “is rated as the best among 56 institutions affiliated to the Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB) Examination in terms of good behaviour and students performance in the 2019 examination.
The exam result shows that the college recorded 80 to 100 percent pass in 13 out of the 17 ‘A Level’ subjects that were offered by the IJMB. Further analysis shows that 699 students, 68.73 percent of the total 1,017 students, scored the minimum university entry requirements into 200 level of eight points and above. Seven students scored 16 points (A3), 27 scored 15 points (A2 B) and 665 of the students who sat for the IJMB exams scored 8-14 points.
He explained that Kano State Polytechnic attained the 17th position in the ranking of all polytechnics in Nigeria by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE); it also ranked 5th in the comity of state polytechnics.
He said the governor has on many occasions explained how he has paid great attention to learning because the academia and education in general, remain the surest way to sustainable development of all nations.
He said Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in that regard and that with rising unemployment in the society for both skilled and unskilled individuals, technical and vocational education provided the necessary remedy to ‘the disturbing scenario of un-employability’ of graduates of tertiary institutions.
The former aide to the governor said the administration, since its inception in 2015, embarked on “massive employment of academic and non-academic staff across all tertiary institutions; and aggressive training of academic staff of the state tertiary institutions in the best universities in France, Cyprus, India, Malaysia and other countries.”
Also, about 279 approved academic programmes are being offered across eight higher institutions with support of the government and other stakeholders. The institutions are KUST 27, YUMSU 32, Kano Polytechnic 72, Audu Bako College of Agriculture, Danbatta 27, Kano College of Education and Preliminary Studies 15, Kano College of Arts and Remedial Studies 10 and Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso 78.
Dr Jarma said the governor has obtained details of the outstanding fees owed to foreign universities by undergraduates and had paid over 70% while the balance is being processed.
He said between 2017 and 2018, the state paid the fees of over 80 foreign students in Mansoura University, Egypt as well as about 50 students in October 6 University also in Egypt, amounting to N2.6 billion.
Similarly, about 104 students in four universities in Sudan – namely National University, Omdurman Islamic University (OIU), Elrazi University and Ahfad University – have received about N2.5 billion.
In Omdurman for instance, all the female students from Kano received $2,881 as maintenance allowance each while male students in the remaining three Sudanese universities got $2,479 each as maintenance allowance.
Jarma further stated that students from the state in different foreign universities have been given N788,000 each as the outstanding balance of their upkeep allowance while the remaining is being processed.
He said Elrazi University has resolved to give an honorary degree to Gov Ganduje over his achievements in education.
Commenting on basic education, he said government has abolished fees in both primary and secondary schools with a view to improving access and revamped vocational and polytechnic education.
He said “government has constructed and equipped the state-of-the- art Vocational Training Centre tagged ‘Dangote Vocational Centre’ which is adjudged the best technical vocational centre in the entire federation.”
According to him, Governor Ganduje considered technical and vocational education as inevitable for sustainable development and that Nigeria as a whole must continue to pay deserving attention towards encouraging vocational and technical manpower.
Kano State, he stated, is providing the lead towards revamping and reintegrating the Almajiri system of education to reduce the menace of out-of-school kids. The Almajiri schools are given adequate support and will be integrated into the modern school system in line with provisions of the law.
A summit, he said, was organized between September 3 and 4 by the State Government which analyzed and generated ideas towards the implementation of the policy on free and compulsory basic and secondary education as well as sustainability in the integration of the Almajiri system.
He said comprehensive compendiums for educational transformation in the next four years of the Ganduje administration have so far been concluded and that their ‘faithful’ implementation will lead to further consolidation of the efforts towards repositioning and transformation initiatives.