Gombe monarch, the Emir of Dukku, His Royal Highness, Haruna Abdulkadir Rashid II, has given a marching order to the traditional leaders in his emirate to ensure that all the children are enrolled into schools, to change the narrative of out of school children in his emirate.
The royal father told journalists in Dukku, that triple challenge of out of school children, girl child education and early marriage were serious issues he and other traditional leaders in his domain were trying to tackle.
He said most worrisome recently was a visit by a group from the Federal Government College, which presented statistics that, showed no student of the school was from the area.
“I remember just recently, a concerned group from the Federal Government Girls College, Bajoga came and made a presentation, that the school does not have children from the area, Northern Gombe and that we should find a way of getting them into the school. He said the students in the current intake lists have non from the northern part Gombe. This paints a very serious picture of what is happening,” he lamented.
The royal father, however, said a lot was being done, with the launch of the Basic Education Delivery for All programmes, where enumerators have started going round to count children that are out of school, to ascertain their actual number in the State.
The Emir of Dukku also said a lot of sensitisation is on-going in his emirate for district heads, village heads and other leaders, who would assist to achieve the objectives of the enumeration programme.
“Right now, what I have done, I said everyone should ensure that all children in any locality are enrolled in school. That is what we are doing and we go out ourselves and see what is happening,” he said.
The Emir of Dukku also said the emirate had decided that schools would be assigned to individual members of the society, who would be mentors to the students by caring for their needs.
He pledged support for the government to ensure that all out of school children were not just captured, but remained in school.
Another strong step being taken by the Dukku Emirate is the revival of the School Management Committee System in all the localities, so as to make sure that parents, traditional leaders, Imams and other religious leaders become part of the committee to ensure that the schools function effectively.
His Royal Highness for the resuscitation of the school feeding programme, which has been suspended.
We had an opportunity when the School Feeding Programme was going on, children were going to school, of course, even only to eat and go back. We could have now leverage on that and make sure that we retain them in school, but unfortunately we did not do that. That is why we are calling on the government to bring back that programme, so that we can also use it to attract our children, out-of-school children to go back to school,” said the Emir of Dukku.
He said the emirate was also having an all encompassing approach to encourage school enrolment, such as the Tsangaya schools, which is targeting 50% to 60% this school season.
I think part of the problem too, are that some of the people we have are nomadic people, the nomadic schools are not functioning the way the schools have been functioning, but we’ve also been in contact with the Nomadic Education Commission to see how some of these schools can come back on stream, to make sure that our children are also given the opportunity to attend schools.
On the issue of early marriage, which has deprived and is still depriving girls of formal education, the Emir of Dukku said it was a very serious issue in northern Nigeria.
He said having formal education had more advantages and that there was nothing that said a girl child must marry early, but that having a formal education would give the girl child the opportunity to become a better housewife and mother.
“If you don’t allow that child to go to school, the ignorance that that child will carry, even to the matrimonial home, she will not bring up their children properly, because she is also not educated. Tendencies are that she may also be non-nonchalant in the education of her children. So, actually, there is a need for us, because religion says, seek knowledge. So, it says seek Islamic knowledge and the one to survive in this world. If the Islamic own is for the here-after, the one you are doing too is for you to be a better human being here,” Emir Rashid said.
He, therefore, called on parents to desist from giving out their children very early in marriage, because health implications, which eventually lead to serious health conditions like VVF (Vesicovaginal Fistula) that sometimes, lead to divorce.
“We are not saying you should not marry off your daughter, but at least let her be of age, so that she can now reasonably be a good housewife and also be a good mother to her children. We have been trying to see how we can stop it,” Emir of Dukku added.