By Dr. Aliyu Tilde
we decided to scale down the school fees to N700 per year in the State’s public schools five months ago, many head teachers and former administrators cried foul, telling the public that the schools cannot be run on that in spite of the assurance given that government will augment in the provision of instructional and safeguard (non-teaching school) materials.
“The decision is wrong,” they kept on shouting at the top of their voices. We kept our cool and worked towards fulfilling the promise.
The first batch of our large purchase of instructional materials has arrived. This is separate from the few that we distributed last year.
They included classroom and office materials like whiteboard markers, chalk, biros, exercise books, hardcovers, registers, ledgers, charts, staplers, kitchen ware that included grinding machines, sieves, utensils, large pots, etc.
Last week, principals of the 216 schools under the Ministry were asked to come over to collect their shares. They did so reluctantly, thinking, in the words of one of them, that it was the usual good for nothing piecemeal that they were used to.
It was not piecemeal. The Principal of General Hasan Usman Katsina Unity College had this to say:
“When I was called to go to GDSS Army Barracks for the collection, I went reluctantly knowing how it used to be in the past. But on reaching the store when I was called to collect the items for my school, I was overwhelmed:
“More than four principals had to assist me packed my materials, skills had to be applied for the vehicle to contain all the materials. I had to ask myself is this all for GHUKUC alone?
“In fact, it is one of its kind. On my arrival in the school, my VPs and all staff present surrounded the vehicle in surprise, they least expected, they started singing words of praises and prayers to the Governor of Bauchi state for giving the right person the right job at the right time. We pray for the sustenance of this gesture.”
Another principal wrote on a platform:
“Gaba dai, gaba dai. Most principals yesterday were very happy with the new development. Your honesty really worth emulating. May Almighty Allah continue to direct your affairs, sir. Thanks.”
Yes!:The gesture will be sustained, in sha Allah. Our dream is to purchase instructional materials that will last years and we are on course. Our next consignment is four times this size.
Where will the money come from?
Well, the answer is simple. Cut waste to free resources, which you need to fund essential expenditure.
That is the philosophy of His Excellency. It is exactly what we are doing in the Ministry.
We hope other agencies under the Ministry will do the same so that schools at lower levels can also be catered for.
Some even have grants for instructional materials. Let them use their monies wisely and it will go a long way in making basic needs available to our schools.
Local education authorities under our local governments must also live up to this responsibility.
For after the student and the teacher, instructional materials is the next most important requirement of education in our schools.
Parents, schools, old students, NGOs should all continue to augment government effort. And, of course, individuals.
Instead of condemning government and its officials, buy a carton of chalk or anything else and present to the public school nearest to you. It is surely better than gossiping and lamenting all evening.
Never shout down someone based on your experience. Where you failed, someone can easily succeed. Times are different. The world changes everyday. Stop shouting but pray for the best, please.
We pray that school administrators will make the best use of the items and not allow them stollen away to bookshops.
To help them do so, each of them, on our instruction, has constituted a School Resource Management Committee that will manage such allocations.
With a generous and appreciative Governor who allows his Commissioners a freehand, very much unlike us- the Malam Bs – we at the Ministry of Education will never be tired of expanding the frontiers of possibilities in education delivery in Bauchi State.
Just allow the brain to think and think deeply, you will see that the elasticity of such frontiers is very high.
Learning about my Technical College renovation post of yesterday, the Governor wrote me this morning, saying,
“You never fail to pleasantly amaze me! Well done Dr. for the excellent initiative, please..”
Dr Aliyu U. Tilde is the Commissioner of Education, Bauchi state