By Abiodun Esan
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, says the state has surpassed the 25 per cent UNESCO budgetary allocation to education.
AbdulRazaq made this known on Thursday in Ilorin, in an address presented at the Kwara Education Future Summit.
The News of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit has as its theme: “Securing and Investing in the Next Generation.”
“As a show of our commitment to education, we have recently surpassed the UNESCO budgetary threshold of 25 per cent. Even so, it is clear that the government cannot do this alone.
“Huge gaps still exist. For instance, our recent school census across four local government areas, show that 41 per cent of our teachers are absent at their duty posts.
“No single teacher was seen in 54 of the 368 schools sampled, while 23 per cent of students on head teachers’ records, were not in school during the census,” the governor said.
According to the governor, out of the schools sampled, 15 per cent do not need repair while 85 per cent of the classrooms require various forms of rehabilitation.
“The picture is bleaker when you consider availability or adoption of technology in our schools.
“The gender parity index for ratio of girls to boys in our schools is another source of worry,” he added.
AbdulRazaq added the goal of his government was to make public schools the first choice for all, in terms of the quality and relevance of infrastructure and teaching staff in the digital age.
“So, we need everyone on board. We do not have all the answers.
“We certainly do not have enough resources that will provide the right environment for every Kwara child to thrive in the new world, irrespective of their social standing.
“My team and I, believe that sustainable development can only be anchored on solid education.
|”This is why my first preoccupation in office had been to check the state of our schools.
“It was a sorry tale. The basic education had simply collapsed. We got down to work immediately. Two years down the road, my team and I are proud to report that the situation has changed,” the governor said.
AbdulRazaq said his administration had restored relationship with key partners after years of blacklist.
“We have reshaped public perception about teaching, by engaging the best minds into the system.
“Work is ongoing in some 600 basic schools to give our children a befitting learning environment,” he added.
According to the governor, the government is building a legal framework to support the efforts.
“We now have a bill for a law to establish Kwara State Education Trust Fund.
“When passed, this fund will supplement the sector’s finance, promote technologies and leapfrog the sector’s development through our Kwara Education Transformation Agenda (KWETA) plan,” AbdulRazaq added. (NAN)