Following a Daily Trust report unearthing the declining state of [basic] education in Bauchi State, its counterpart, Leadership newspaper claimed that the state under the leadership of Governor Bala Mohammed “is scripting a remarkable success story in education.”
The story by Daily Trust revealed that public primary education in Bauchi State is on the verge of collapse due to a shortage of qualified teachers, dilapidated infrastructure and poor remuneration of the existing staff, which seems to have set the agenda for the recent altercations.
“The Bauchi State Government, under the leadership of Governor Bala Mohammed, is taking commendable steps to bridge these gaps and address the challenges,” Leadership argued.
It further stated that there’s a significant reduction in the number of out-of-school children in the state with over 500,000 children being brought back into the education system, “showcasing the administration’s dedication to ensuring every child has access to quality education.”
In addition, it claimed the fundamental challenge of the shortage of teachers was being addressed head-on, “as the government has recently approved the recruitment of 3,000 teachers.”
The publication, however, came barely a day after a pro-governmental group, Bauchi Integrity and Credible Information Monitors (BICIM), faulted the Daily Trust’s report, saying it [Daily Trust] is anti-Bauchi government. The group further described the revelatory story as “biased and falling short of basic journalism standards.”
“In particular, we have noticed a lack of honesty and professionalism in the Daily Trust newspaper’s coverage of the education situation in Bauchi,” it said.
However, the group acknowledged that fundamental challenges need to be addressed urgently, noting that the government is actively working to rectify the issues. “The recent approval to recruit 3,000 teachers, with a focus on core subject teachers for senior secondary schools and teachers for lower and upper basic schools, demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing the teacher shortage,” it said.
Amid the double-edged narratives in the national dailies, WikkiTimes analysed the educational situation in the northeastern state as it relates to out-of-school children and the dearth of teachers.
What also seems like a setback in child enrollment, an NBS survey in 2018 [a year before Mohammed ascended leadership position of the state] revealed that there were 60.7 per cent (primary level) and 64.2 per cent (secondary level) of out-of-school children in Bauchi. An infographic analysis of the survey done by StatiSence, a private data hub in Nigeria, further showed that Bauchi had about 1.2 million out-of-school children.
Also, StatiSense’s recent infographic analysis showing 10 key socio-economic indicators pegged the figure of out-of-school children in Bauchi State at 1.37 million. These children range from six to 15 years of age.
Earlier in August, the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) revealed that no fewer than 79 primary schools have one teacher each in Misau local council of the state, yet an official in the agency said the situation in the council was better compared to other local government areas in the state.
Similarly, just a month ago, Governor Mohammed admitted that his administration failed in the educational sector, noting that he failed to deliver quality school structures for educational purposes – but he blamed some agencies in charge of education in the state.
The findings [by Daily Trust] that due to a shortage of qualified teachers in some schools in the state coupled with dilapidated infrastructure and poor remuneration turning the students into farmers is correct.
The claims that Governor Mohammed’s administration is making remarkable success in education and the falsification of the findings are misleading claims.
Friday Erhabor, a public affairs analyst believes the major cause of this ugly trend is that most state governments, especially the northern states have failed to pay enough attention to education. “State governors should enforce compulsory free primary and secondary education in their various states,” he said.