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Alarming Report: Half of Northern Nigeria’s Teachers Lack Proper Qualifications, Reveals Ahmadu Bello Foundation

October 10, 2023

Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation and former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, has highlighted a pressing issue in Northern Nigeria’s education system, stating that 50% of teachers in the North were unqualified.

He spoke on Tuesday at the conference organised by the Foundation with the theme, ‘Education in Northern Nigeria: Status, Challenges, and the Way Forward’ in Abuja .

He pointed out that no Northern state in Nigeria has 50 per cent qualified teachers, as the minimum qualification required is Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE).

Many individuals, according to him, were teaching because they lack better opportunities.

Aliyu also expressed concern about the growing number of out-of-school children in a country grappling with poverty.

He emphasised the urgent need for action to address the alarming situation.

During his tenure as the governor of Niger State from 2007 to 2015, Aliyu encountered disheartening conditions in schools, where hundreds of children had to sit on bare floors, and some schools had only three teachers for classes spanning from one to six.

He stressed the importance of NCE as a minimum requirement for teachers and lamented the erosion of its foundation.

According to him, he took proactive steps during his tenure, ensuring that teachers were paid promptly, with a cap not exceeding 25th of every month, in pursuit of better educational outcomes.

He emphasised the crucial role of education in the society, stating that, “People don’t remember who built infrastructure but they remember education.”

Aliyu also addressed the security challenges in the North, emphasising the need for proactive measures at the state level to combat the issues.

He shared an intriguing historical perspective, revealing that the original leader of Boko Haram, Shekau, was initially based in Niger State before moving to Borno State, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

On his part, chairman of the organising committee and secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation and former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, said the North despite its rich cultural heritage, historical significance, and abundance of human resources, unfortunately lags behind in terms of educational development compared to other regions in the country.

Shekarau emphasised the need for urgent action, stating, “These findings are not meant to discourage us, but rather to serve as a wake-up call for urgent action.

“Education is the bedrock of any prosperous society, and it is our collective responsibility to address these challenges head-on.”

He stressed the importance of collaboration and innovation, noting, “It is only through collaboration, innovation, and a shared vision that we can bring about tangible change.”

Shekarau called for the rehabilitation of school infrastructure, saying, “We must prioritize the rehabilitation and reconstruction of our school infrastructure, ensuring that our children have safe and conducive learning environments.”

He also addressed the issue of qualified teaching staff, stating, “Investing in the training and professional development of teachers is crucial to improving the quality of education.”

Financial resources were identified as critical, with Shekarau noting, “Adequate funding must be allocated to education, ensuring that it receives the attention and investment it deserves.”

On his part, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, raised critical questions about the state of leadership and education in Northern Nigeria, lamenting the lack of progress in the region 60 years after the demise of Sarduna Of Sokoto and Premier of defunt Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

In his address, he emphasised the pivotal role of inspiring and purposeful leadership in driving societal change and development.

Idris questioned the events that have transpired between 1966 and the present day, underlining the need for Northern Nigeria to engage in introspection and return to the drawing board.

He called for a thorough examination of where things have gone wrong and the implementation of necessary corrections.

One of the minister’s concerns revolved around the capacity to address the issue of out-of-school children.

He posed a critical question, asking whether Northern Nigeria possesses the capability to accommodate and educate all these children effectively.

Additionally, he raised doubts about the number of functional primary schools in the region.

 

Culled from Leadership

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