Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has inaugurated a state-wide campaign to enrol 1.4 million children into primary schools in the state.
Tambuwal, who flagged off the campaign at Riji village in Rabah Local Government area of the state on Tuesday, described the campaign as the largest enrolment drive in Nigeria.
Riji is the birthplace of late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto.
The governor also used the occasion to inaugurate the State Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme, the Nigerian Partnership for Education Project and a prototype Early Childhood Development Centre.
He said that during the enrolment campaign which targets 1.4 million new intakes in the next one year, government would reach out to communities and adopt house-to-house advocacy.
“The enrolment drive is a high level advocacy mechanism to ensure that all stakeholders partake in ensuring effective awareness and mobilization.
“It involves parents, guardians, communities, religious and traditional leaders as well as the School Based Management Committees (SMBCs).’’
Tambuwal stressed that government would empower relevant stakeholders to drive the campaign and sensitise communities and parents on the importance of enrolling their children in school.
“This will be achieved through empowerment of SBMCs, mothers’ associations, religious and traditional leaders and other stakeholders to conduct campaign in their communities.
“They will, in addition, regularly track and monitor attendance of enrolled children in their respective schools and communities as part of their oversight responsibilities,” the governor explained.
The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Jabbi Kilgore, said the “ambitious’’ campaign was “realisable because of government’s target of integrating 4000 Qur’anic schools with existing school models, and other strategies.
“Moreover, the planning and implementation process for the enrolment drive involves working with state legislators and religious leaders as well as partnering with the media to successfully achieve the set objective.’’
He added that the mobilisation committee would collaborate with the National Population Commission for data of new births recorded in every community.
According to him, the state has recorded significant reduction in out-of-school children and recorded 7.3 per cent increment in enrolment, with girls having 4.4 per cent of the figure in 2016/2017 academic session.
In a goodwill message, UNICEF acting Chief Field Officer for Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi, Mr. Paul Mudzondo, described the event as unique and historic.
He noted that apart from the campaign to raise school enrolment, the “government has provided stipends to poor families to support enrolment and maintenance of children, especially girls, in schools.”