Education is the bedrock of any society, a philosopher once said. This axiom is also what makes a society only to be described as enlightened based on the level of education that its citizens acquire. And for any society to experience meaningful development, education of its citizens must be at its peak.
This exactly is the driving force behind the Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar-led administration in Bauchi State and it is also why the ministry of education is always having the lion share in the state budget. The governor’s achievements in the education sector are very visible especially at the state-owned polytechnic, the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP).
The governor’s intervention efforts in the institution are visible in both human and capital development. Since his assumption of office, Governor Abubakar has remained committed to ensuring that the institution can compete favourably with its counterparts in other parts of the country.
The result of this commitment is the massive construction of facilities and accreditation of several courses at the National Diploma (ND), Higher National Diploma (HND), National Certificate in Education (NCE) and degree levels. The rector of the polytechnic, Dr. Suleiman Mohammed Lame, told Leadership Weekend that the government’s interventions ensured that several courses that were previously not accredited were accredited within a period of two years while eight new courses were introduced to take effect from the 2017/2018 academic session.
According to Lame, Governor Abubakar administration is providing innovative and dynamic approach to education in the state.
Following the state government’s support, the polytechnic has secured approval from the National Universities Commission (NUC) to run seven degree programmes affiliated to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi beginning from the 2016/2017 academic session.
The programmes are B.Ed. (Tech.) in Building Technology, Automobile Technology, Business Education, (Accounting and Business Management), Electrical/Electronic Technology, Metal Work Technology and Woodwork Technology, all of which were meant to promote employability of the unemployed youth. Within the period under review, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), had accredited 34 National diploma and Higher National Diploma programmes run by the polytechnic. These include, HND Civil Engineering, HND Building Technology, HND Mechanical Engineering, HND Electrical Engineering Technology, HND Estate Management and Evaluation, HND Accountancy, HND Public Administration, HND Business Administration and Management, HND Science Laboratory Technology (Biochemistry), HND Science Laboratory Technology (Microbiology), HND Science Laboratory Technology (Chemistry), HND Science Laboratory Technology (Physics/Electronic), ND Public Administration, ND Taxation, ND Local Government Studies, ND Quantity Survey, ND Urban and Regional Planning, ND Survey and Geo-Informatics, ND Welding and Fabrication, ND Architectural Technology, ND Business Administration and Management, ND Science Laboratory Technology, ND Mass Communication, ND Electrical and Electronic Engineering, ND Computer Science, ND Mechanic Engineering, ND Social Development, ND Geological Technology, ND Statistics, ND Building Technology, ND Estate Management, ND Accountancy as well as ND Civil Engineering.
The government has also secured the National Commission for Colleges of Education’s accreditation of 17 NCE and NCE Technical Education programmes for the ATAP. These are: Automobile, Electrical, Building, (Technical) Business Education, Metal Works, Woodwork, Primary Education, Early Child Education, English Language, Biology Education, Mathematics Education, Social Studies/Economics, Physical Education, Chemistry education, and (Technical) Computer Education.
The rector said Governor Abubakar had been proactive in the area of staff welfare as the era of transfer of service because of lack of remuneration was gone in the institution. In the same vein, the chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Yahaya Ibrahim Yero, has revealed that the Abubakar-led administration counterpart fund payment of N3.7 billion for 2014 and 2015 made the board function effectively in discharging its enormous responsibilities for the benefit of the people of the state.
He said Governor Abubakar has to source the said sum of N3.7 bn from a bank to pay the 2014 and 2015 universal basic education counterpart funding to strengthen the board.
Yero explained that with counterpart funding of 50 per cent each by the Bauchi State Government and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEB), the board within the past two years was able to undertake construction of classrooms, renovate some schools and provide furniture in various primary and junior secondary schools across the state.
Accordingly, he stated, the board had during the period under review constructed a number of 108 blocks of two and three classrooms, and renovated 699 blocks of two and three classrooms.
The SUBEB chairman said his board had purchased 2, 051 desks and tables which would serve 12,306 nursery pupils and 20,246 desks and tables for 60,738 primary school pupils as well as 11,466 desks and tables for 22,932 junior secondary school students.
These, he said, were in addition to the approval by the state governor for the renovation of some schools and building of new classrooms for the 2016 programme.
He noted that UBEB had already given its counterpart funding and tenders had been verified and sent to the Due Process Office which in turn released batch 1, 2, and 3 of no objection for those that fulfilled the procedures or guidelines.
“His Excellency has also given approval for sourcing from a bank of the 2017 universal basic education counterpart funding for which a memo has already been sent to the State House of Assembly for authorization, and with the receipt of counterpart from UBEB, tenders will be opened by the board,” Yero disclosed.
He explained that the SUBEB in Bauchi was doing everything humanly possible to ensure the provision of a conducive atmosphere for both teaching and learning in its schools.
Yero, also lauded Governor Abubakar for approving the promotion of teachers in primary and junior secondary schools. He, however, explained that unqualified teachers in the service of the state government had been given a grace period of three years within which to obtain the necessary teaching qualification or be disengaged.
He said many of the teachers employed had no requisite qualification and so the three years were to obtain the qualification or be shown the way out.
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