By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
The N40 billion which the Katsina State government pumped into the education sector in the last two years has led to enrollment increase at both primary and secondary school levels.
According to a release by state officials, â€œin 2004/2005 session, only 142,729 students were in secondary schools. But the figure jumped to 266,735 in the 2008/2009 session. Similarly, primary school enrollment during the period went up from 1,001,447 in 2005 to 1,278,418 in 2009.â€
Other contributing factors to the boost in school enrollment, says the release, include the subsisting government policies of the abolition of school fees, increase in feeding allowance for boarding schools, construction of new schools and payment of WAEC and NECO examination fees.
According to the release, over N2009,858 million was released to school principals between 2007 and May 2009 to cover school fees that were abolished by government, with a further sum of N234,752,440.00 paid as WAEC and NECO examination fees as well as a sum of N301.5 million released to principals as running costs.
In addition, the state government has instituted a 100% upward review of feeding allowances to boarding students in secondary schools, spending a sum of N505 million on this.
On infrastructural development of schools in the state, a total number of 130 new secondary schools have been constructed at the cost of N6.93 billion, adding that N10.503 billion was also expended on upgrading, expansion and rehabilitation of schools.
Specifically, the sum of N1.219 billion was spent on the provision of infrastructure in schools.
The state government has, according to the release, been equally giving priority attention to girl-child primary education having spent N300 million on the construction of 34 girl-child primary schools. It has also constructed additional classrooms in six Girl Education Programme schools and provided furniture worth N65.41 million.
The state government has also been empowering the teachers, says the release. It discloses that no few er than 5,000 primary school teachers have been offered interest-free motorcycle loans, 10,521 teachers were sponsored for in-service training from 2007 to date which cost it the sum of N112.94 million while 5,420 senior staff of the stateâ€™s Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) were promoted.