Gombe State Government, on Tuesday, said it has enrolled 214,000 out-of-school children into its public schools between September 2019 and January 2020.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya made the disclosure at the inauguration of uniform and instructional materials distribution exercise to pupils in Jalinga village, Funakaye Local Government Area of the state.
School uniforms, bags and writing materials were distributed to pupils in public primary schools and Girl-Child Learning Centres under the Federal Government’s Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme.
Yahaya disclosed that 70,000 Almajiris were integrated into the formal system, while 40,000 girls enrolled into formal Girl-Child Learning Centres in the state.
He added that 104,000 children, hitherto school dropouts, were also returned to the schools to enable them to continue with their education.
The governor recalled that he inherited over 500,000 out-of-school children when he assumed office in 2019, coupled with a ravaged educational system with various inadequacies.
He explained that the trend prompted his administration to declare a state of emergency in education to reinvigorate the sector.
According to him, the state government has so far expended N2.9 billion on the renovation of 400 classroom blocks in basic and post-basic schools in the state.
Yahaya added that his administration also established a pioneer Teacher Training Institute, Kwami, in the North-East, to enhance teacher training and capacity development.
He urged parents and guardians to complement the gesture and enroll their wards in schools.
Also speaking, Babaji Babadidi, Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) said the choice of Funakaye for inauguration of the instructional materials distribution exercise was not by coincidence as “it is one of the areas with the highest number of out-of-school children in the state.”
Babadidi noted that the gesture signified the zeal and commitment of the governor towards uplifting the standard of basic education in the state.
BESDA Coordinator, Dr Abdullahi Ahmed called on parents to cooperate with the government to ensure effective enrollment and retention in schools.
Dr Ahmed attributed the successes recorded by the programme to the support of community and religious leaders in the state.
In a remark, Dr. Habu Dahiru, the state’s Commissioner for Education, urged parents to complement government effort by monitoring the performance of their wards.
Dahiru said the state government had renovated classrooms and hostels to enabling teaching and learning environment in the schools.
The commissioner warned pupils and students against examination malpractices, adding that “Governor Yahaya has zero tolerance for corruption, especially during examination.”