Reducing Bauchi’s 1.2million out-of-school children through SBMC
Out of the 10.5.million out-of-school children in the Country, Bauchi State is hosts over 1.2million, trailing Kano’s 1.4million. The situation has become worrisome to stakeholders in the education sector in the state.
Commonly among some parents, the habit of sponsoring girls to western education in Bauchi is not encouraging.
According to a chairman of School Based Management Committee, Murtala Ibrahim, said some parents prefer using girls for petty trading to education, believing that girls should be married off.
Bauchi State Governor Bala Muhammed on assumption of office, opined that the influx of Internally Displaced Persons contributing to the increasing number of kids.
He said the state is another peaceful haven for troubled Northeast residents.
Recently, UNICEF gave reasons for poor enrolment in six northern states to include distant location of schools which represents 44 per cent, opportunity costs –36 per cent and direct cost which contributed 26 per cent for non enrolment.
It said the major reasons given for girls dropout from school are direct cost which represents 29 per cent, those who are with no interest in education represent 25 per cent while opportunities costs stands at 23 per cent.
Returning the kids to school requires grassroot approach with the community leaders at the forefront, making education accessible to all –particularly girl children. This might be the reason for UNICEF’s partnership with School Based Management Committee (SBMC) to address the issue in all locals of the state.
This committee ensures door-to-door campaign for enrolment of pupils into school in the Northern part of Country. It exists in all basic arm, forming part of the management of schools which include community stakeholders that consists of religion, traditional leaders, artisans, teachers, parents, civil society organisations and women groups making the 17-man committee.
According to a teacher, Mrs. Aisha Adamu who spoke with The Guardian said the committee has been making an effort to reach out to parents door to door to enrol their wards in school.
“SBMC is recognised by the UBEC provides strategic development plans, monitoring and implementation of projects in schools. It ensures the smooth operations of the basic education –particularly effective teaching and learning,” She said.
“The committee, particularly in the North where the lion’s share of the out-of-school children reside, engages in door-to-door enrolment campaign for girl child education.”
Recently, the UBEC’s Director of School Mobilisation, Alhaji Bello Kagara said that basic education in Nigeria requires more grassroot approach to engage all community stakeholders through the SBMC –which he said is the closest structure, capable of assisting in the delivery of quality education.
Bello, who spoke at a programme organised by UNICEF and sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID) in Kano confirmed, that the committee () assists the UBEC in monitoring, implementation and ensure transparency and accountability counterpart funds.
“UBEC contributes 50% while the state governments commit other 50%, for instance, if you we pay N200 Million the state pays N200million to carry out N400million project. So this project is effectively managed by them. They take it as their own,” he said.
The SBMC Chairman in Bauchi Local Government Alhaji AbdulHameed Mohammad said there are 300 primary schools and 100 junior schools been handled by the committees.
Also, the Committee Chairman of General Hassan (Galambi) Government Primary School, Alhaji Murtala Ibrahim said: “Before we came up as SBMC, the school was in a terrible state, there was no perimeter fence, pupils were sitting on bare floor, chalkboards were all broken, they were also urinating on the floor of the classrooms as there was no toilet.
“SBMC comprises critical stakeholders, we are working with CSOs to source for money to carry out our activities to fix problems of teaching and learning. We are in a society where parents don’t believe in Girl Child Education.
“Sometimes during our mobilisation campaign on girls enrolment, parents do tell us, what have those girls with education achieved in life?
“Some of the parents prefer using them for hawking grand nut, masa, and others then giving them in marriage instead of education. Despite this, we have achieved more enrolment of these girls. In my school, we have more girls than their male counterparts.”
Murtala said the committee has written to SUBEB for renovation, construction of classrooms in the past while over ten blocks toilet, kitchen block, water project and perimeter fence have been constructed. Most importantly, according to him SBMC ensure close monitoring of these projects.
“In the past, education was easy and equal but I can tell you today that it is not well in the education sector, you can imagine where pupils sit on the floor, some take lessons under trees as their classrooms have been blown off.
“Let me assure the government that if they can strengthen us the more by providing necessary support, we shall manage basic education in such a way that it becomes accessible and equal to every child.”