Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has flagged off what he described as ‘Nigeria’s largest school enrolment drive’ which targets 1.4 million new intakes in the next one year.
The event, which took place at Riji village in Rabah LGA, was also used to officially the launch the state cash transfer scheme, the Nigerian Partnership for Education Project and the prototype early childhood development centres (ECD).
Riji village is the birthplace of former Premier of Northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Tambuwal said his administration will continue to invest significant amount of time and resources in order to turn around the fortunes of the education sector.
“The enrollment drive is a high level advocacy mechanism which ensures that all stakeholders partake in ensuring effective awareness and mobilisation of parents, guardians, communities, religious and traditional leaders as well as the school based management committees on the importance of enrolling all school-age children into schools”, he said.
According to him, the enrollment campaign will primarily concentrate on community level activities especially house to house campaigns.
“This will be achieved through empowerment of SBMCs, Mothers’ Associations, religious and traditional leaders and other stakeholders to conduct campaign in their communities.
“They will, in addition, regularly track and monitor attendance of enrolled children in their respective schools an communities as part of their oversight responsibilities”, he added.
In his remarks, the state commissioner of basic and secondary education, Jabbi Kilgore, said even though the figure of 1.4 million new intakes into schools is ambitious, it is realisable because of government’s target of integrating 4000 Qur’anic schools with existing school models and other strategies introduced.
According to him, the planning and implementation process for the enrolment drive involves working with state legislators and religious leaders while partnering with the media and at the same time collaborating with the National Population Commission for data of new births in various communities.
He said records from the 2016/2017 enrolment drive have shown significant reduction in out of school children, 7.3 per cent increment in pre-primary and primary school children of which 4.4 per cent were girls.
In his goodwill message, UNICEF’s acting chief of field office for Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi, Paul Mudzondo, said the event was unique and historic in the sense that apart from campaign for enrolment, government has provided stipends to poor families to support enrolment and maintenance of children, especially girls, in schools.