Gombe Pledges Sustained Efforts to Mop-up Out-of-School Children

As Education Commissioner Leads Officials To Inspect Mega Bilingual Boarding Schools Under Construction

Gombe State Government has pledged to sustain the ongoing efforts in mopping up out-of-school children to reduce the illiteracy levels in the state by complementing the recently concluded BESDA World Bank programme

This was made known by the Commissioner of Education, Asst. Prof. Ashatu Umar Maigari, when she led a high-powered team on an inspection visit to one of the three 1,200 capacity Bilingual Boarding Schools being constructed in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Gombe state.

The Commissioner stated that the partnership between the Gombe State Government and the Islamic Development Bank in constructing these schools was in recognition of the crucial role of global partners in supporting the government’s efforts to tackle the issue of out-of-school children and enhance literacy levels in the state.

“Today, my team, including officials from the Ministry of Education, SUBEB, and the Office of the Project Coordinator, is here to inspect the ongoing construction of the 1,200 capacity Bilingual Boarding School in Shamaki area of Gombe LGA. This initiative is part of a trio of similar schools being constructed across the three senatorial districts in the state to reduce the number of out-of-school children”, she said.

“We inspected the classrooms, hostel rooms, dining halls, staff quarters, and other facilities currently under construction. We are satisfied with the progress and quality of the work. During our interaction with the contractor, he assured us that the project will be completed by April 2024, so that the facility will be operational in September for enrolling children in the 2024/2025 academic session”, she added.

She emphasized that Governor Inuwa Yahaya’s vision is to transform Gombe into a state with the fewest or no out-of-school children in Nigeria, saying this commitment is evident through his administration’s initiatives to construct additional schools across the state, recruitment of more teachers, and fostering partnerships to realize this vision.

Earlier in his remarks, the Project Coordinator and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Development Partners Coordination, Dr. Ishiyaku Babayo explained that the bilingual school project aims to grant vulnerable children, particularly Almajiri children, access to quality Western and Islamic education.

“This project is funded by the Islamic Development Bank, and aims to enroll vulnerable children, particularly Almajiri, providing them access to both Islamic and Western education. The bilingual aspect, with dual language instruction– English and Arabic, defines its nature. The facility will be a fully equipped boarding school”, he explained.

“The bilingual school project is concentrating on building three schools in the pilot phase across senatorial districts: Shamaki in Gombe, Dogon Ruwa in Kaltungo, and Garin Malam Hamza in Yamaltu/Deba. All teaching and learning materials will be available in both languages of instruction—English and Arabic”, he said.

The Project Coordinator also mentioned that the school, designed to accommodate both male and female students at the basic education level, is structured in a way that the academic sections for female students are separated from those of male students in line with Islamic culture.