Awarding scholarships to 175 students in Kaduna on Monday, Senator representing Kaduna Central, Malam Uba Sani declared that education in Northern Nigeria was in serious crises.
However, he tasked Northern leaders on education development, saying, if they fail to take education seriously and address its challenges, the future of the region, Nigeria and nation’s children would be mortgaged.
Presenting the scholarship awards to the select students, Senator Sani said, the scholarship scheme was designed to assist brilliant children of the poor and vulnerable who may not be able to continue their educational pursuit owing to the inability of their parents to meet the demands for registration fees for examinations, tuition fees and other important materials needed for their study.
He explained that, the programme done under the auspices of Uba Sani Foundation was deliberate and strategic, as education in the North was in serious crisis.
According to him, “A recent survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicates that, the population of out of school children in Nigeria had risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world. Most of the children are out of school, while some had never been to school.
“Of this outrageous population of out of school children, about 70% are in the North of Nigeria. This is quite disturbing and must worry all of us who still care for the North and Nigeria in general.
“The Kaduna State Government has made education a key priority. It has effectively been implementing measures aimed at addressing the huge challenges facing education in the state. The infrastructure gaps in schools are being addressed, while qualified teachers have been recruited and deployed to urban and rural schools. Governor Nasir El-Rufai is indeed changing the face of education in Kaduna State. “But challenges remain. The educational sector suffered decades of neglect and so cannot be reengineered in a very short space of time. It requires sustained attention and funding. Government therefore cannot do it alone. We must all get involved.
“If we fail to take education seriously and address its challenges, we shall end up mortgaging the future of our children, and by implication the future of our country. “My message today is straightforward: Let us stop the lamentations. Let us get fully involved in educational development. Support the efforts of government. Adopt a school and help to lift it to higher standards infrastructure wise and in the availability of instructional materials and quality teachers. Adopt an indigent student and take responsibility for his or her schooling. Increasing the population of the educated is the surest way of fast-tracking the development of the North and Nigeria in general.
“As we leave here today, let us go into our communities as champions and sponsors of education. With determination and commitment we can turn things around in Kaduna State and indeed the entire North. Let us make education for all a fundamental right. It is the sustainable path to progress and development.” He said.
He however congratulated all the successful students, for doing exceedingly well to emerge tops.