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Scholarships, Infrastructure, Teacher Capacity Mark Governor Zulum’s 2nd Term Focus on Education

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In a bold effort to uplift Borno State from its historically low educational standings, Governor Babagana Zulum’s administration has embarked on another ambitious array of educational projects over the past year.

As the 7th Executive Governor, Zulum’s leadership has been marked by an unwavering commitment to transforming the state’s educational landscape.

According to Commissioner for Education, Abba Wakilbe, these deliberate initiatives span across new constructions, renovations, scholarships, ICT development, teacher recruitment, and training, marking a transformative era for the state’s educational landscape.

*Zulum’s First Term Achievements*

During his first term from 2019 to 2023, Governor Babagana Zulum, a professor of irrigation engineering, implemented significant and verifiable interventions to address the state’s troublingly low educational standing. His efforts have been widely recognized for their impact in revitalizing Borno’s education system.

“Since assuming office in 2019, education has been a paramount focus of my administration,” the Governor once said. “Initially, our efforts were directed towards rebuilding our devastated school infrastructure to provide access to over two million out-of-school children in Borno.”

To achieve a greater impact on his education transformation agenda for the people of Borno State, the governor has committed ₦11.5 billion of the ₦340 billion 2024 budget to education. It is worth noting that in 2023, the governor allocated 12 percent of the state’s ₦238 billion budget to education. In 2022, the Borno State government, under Professor Zulum, dedicated 20 percent of the ₦268 billion budget to education. Similarly, 20 percent of the ₦248 billion 2021 budget was allocated to the education sector. Therefore, the 11.5 percent allocation in the 2024 budget should not be seen as a reduction in investment. Instead, it represents a deliberate allocation of resources to build on the substantial investments made in the sector over the past years.

In an ambitious drive to enhance educational infrastructure, Borno State has in the past one year embarked on the construction of numerous schools and facilities. Highlights include:

– The establishment of Mega-size Government Day Secondary School in Gamboru, featuring 30 classrooms, an administrative block, three laboratories, sporting facilities, and a 10kva solar power installation.

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– The creation of Mega-size primary schools in Alakaramti and Shuwari II, equipped with extensive classrooms, ICT centers, sporting facilities, and staff accommodations.

– The construction of 24 new junior and senior secondary schools across various local government areas, including major projects in Konduga, Bama, and Biu.

Moreover, significant investments have been made in teacher accommodations, with the construction of 50 units of 2-bedroom teachers’ quarters in strategic locations such as Damasak, Buratai, and Gubio.

Renovations and Remodelling: Breathing New Life into Existing Schools

The state has also prioritized the renovation and remodeling of existing schools to ensure they meet modern standards. Notable projects in this regarding include:- Complete renovations of Government Girls College and Government Boys Secondary School in Maiduguri.

– Rehabilitation of 18 blocks of classrooms at Ngala Central Primary School and Sanda Kyarimi Primary School in Jere.

– Equipping 88 laboratories in 22 schools statewide, enhancing the practical learning experience for students.

Scholarships: Investing in Human Capital

Recognizing the importance of supporting students financially, the Borno State government has disbursed substantial scholarship funds:- ₦276,388,875 for 19 medical students at Suez University, Egypt.

A total of ₦129,250,000 for the repatriation and support of 153 medical students from Sudan. An annual ₦60,000,000 scholarship for 300 orphans of Counter Terrorism Volunteers. The sum of ₦435,526,824 for 38 indigent students studying abroad.

A groundbreaking ₦1,305,189,000 scholarship for 997 student nurses.

*ICT Development: Bridging the Digital Divide*

To ensure students are equipped for the digital age, the state has invested in ICT infrastructure, including: The supply and installation of ICT equipment in laboratories across Nganzai and Gubio. Construction and equipping of digital training centers in Dikwa, Garadai, and Damboa.

*Teacher Recruitment and Training: Building Capacity*

In a bid to address the teacher shortage and improve education quality, the state has recruited 4,000 teachers and trained 2,653 more at various colleges of education. Additionally, 1,468 teachers have been upgraded through the Emergency Teacher Upgrade Program (ETUP), aligning their salaries with the minimum wage.

*Administrative Restructuring: Enhancing Efficiency*

The restructuring of the Office of Education Secretaries has seen the procurement of 28 Toyota Hilux vehicles and 30 Golf Wagons to facilitate field operations. The office’s status has also been upgraded to that of a permanent secretary, ensuring better administrative efficiency.

Governor Prof. Babagana Zulum’s administration has set a new benchmark for educational development in Borno State. With an unprecedented number of projects executed within just one year, the government’s comprehensive approach promises a brighter future for the state’s youth, fostering an environment where education thrives despite the challenges. As these initiatives take root, Borno stands poised to become a beacon of educational excellence in Nigeria.

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