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By NBF News
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Since May 2007, a new face of education has emerged in Adamawa State under the leadership of Governor Murtala Nyako through his commitment to according education a top priority. This he is doing through his support of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), which has led to the turning around of public schools and made them attractive to parents.

To arrest the deplorable state of public schools, soon after he assumed office, Governor Nyako backed the SUBEB under the Chairmanship of Dr. Salihu Bakari with funds to build and rehabilitate schools thus transforming them to modern institutions to match the standard obtainable in other states.

Speaking on the transformation of public primary schools in the state, the SUBEB chairman, Dr. Bakari, told Daily Sun that it was not surprising when the state was placed second at the Federal Government/Education good performance awards to state SUBEBs held in Abuja in May 2010. Adamawa State won N300 million for its outstanding performance in 2007 while the state came tops in the 2008 edition and received a cash prize of N600 million.

According to him, before his assumption of office in 2008, public schools were in shambles but with the support of the governor, the state has become the best in the country in terms of utilization of UBE funds, provision of teaching facilities and construction of new schools.

He disclosed that Governor Nyako declared a state of emergency in the education sector to salvage the situation and that N900 million was released to SUBEB to renovate public primary schools in the state and to also build new ones.

'For two years that I assumed office, 300 have been rehabilitated by my administration. I give kudos to my governor who listened to me.

If every governor can listen to their SUBEB chairman, everything about basic education will be the best', he said

Bakari said data collected revealed that SUBEB required N41 billion to put the 1, 652 primary schools in the state in good shape for effective education service delivery and that the report was presented to Governor Nyako who agreed that education must be given top priority as result of the long neglect of basic and post-basic education and the poor performance of Adamawa pupils in public examinations.

With the help of the state government and intervention funds from the federal government through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Abuja, Dr. Bakari set out to transform the schools.

'If we educate our people, we will have a peaceful country,' he noted while recalling his achievements. 'My greatest challenge was to ensure that all children of school age have unfettered access to quality basic education, especially those vulnerable children who come from the village and inter lands because there is need for addressing social injustices.'

The SUBEB boss explained that his administration embarked on massive rehabilitation of primary schools by establishing 120 new schools. 'There were schools that had no government presence since their establishment about 20-25years ago,' he stressed. 'Today, we have classroom, pipe borne water, furniture, free textbooks and computer with Internet they use to train the pupils and the teachers come to the school to learn computer.'

Dr. Bakari revealed that last year, SUBEB procured about 900,000 textbooks and in 2010, bought 800,000 textbooks while free uniform were provided for primary one in 2009 and again for this year, the board distributed another set of free uniform to primary one and two to pupils in the state.

He revealed that 21 Central Primary Schools were upgraded to Model Schools and promised that 'by the end of this year, we are intending to have between 60 and 70 Model Schools in the state spread across the 21 Local Government Areas. We have been able to build 300 classrooms and rehabilitated 900, now we have more than 3,500 new classrooms that have been put to use in the last two years.'

The SUBEB chairman noted that before the coming into power of his administration, 'We used to have 200 pupils in a classroom, now it has been reduced to 65 with provision of additional classrooms. We have eradicated the shift system and provided better furniture. We have introduced the public nursery school, so that children can have access to good education. Many parents who have seen what we have done are withdrawing their children from private schools to public ones.'

Talking about the ongoing project at Girls Model Junior Secondary School, Fufore, Bakari described it as awesome in scope and in cost.

The structure equipped with facilities such as classrooms, a computer laboratory and science laboratory which he said has gulped N140 million, will be completed this month.

Corroborating the testimony on the performance of the SUBEB chairman, the Education Secretary of Jada Local Government Area, Mr. Mahmud Abubakar, told Daily Sun that since his assumption of office, he has been paying teachers' salaries and leave grants. He added for good measure, that Jada Central Primary School, a school attended by the former Vice President, was rehabilitated by him.

The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), North region, Mr. Daude Maina, described the SUBEB boss as a silent worker because since his inception, no salary has been owed teachers while leave grants have been paid regularly. He also noted that he has distributed 21 Hilux buses and 17 motor bikes to education secretaries and supervisors in the state.

It was the submission of stakeholders in the state that Bakari approach to education is comprehensive and under him, primary school teachers have been motivated and trained to use computer and Internet. They observed that with the support of Governor Nyako, he has been able to change the face of education in the state.