By Ndidichukwu Odoh
24 years old Aminu Isah and his friends Kabiru Isah(26), Bashar Samaila (23) MA,Awuaya Abdullahi (30) and Anas Lawal (35) are volunteer teachers in new Kawara Manu secondary school in Maryama local government area of Kebbi State Nigeria.
The five young teachers who are graduates from the Kebbi state college of education said they want to “build a new Kawara Manu” through education.
They teach at the new secondary school which commenced in January 2019 and has so far enrolled 90 students out of which 68 are boys and 22 girls.
“we have had the opportunity to go through higher institution and we know the value of education in our lives so we want to give back to our community and give the younger ones opportunity to embrace western education ” Said Aminu Isah.
Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States have the highest out-of-school children in Nigeria and low literacy level in the country, the five young teachers believe that the elites in Kebbi must work togther to help in sensitizing the communities especially those from Kawara Manu on the importance of education.
“since the time we began to teach in this school, the government has not paid us, we are not bothered about that now, we know we don’t have enough teachers in this community to provide quality education, we are unemployed, so the best we can do at the moment is to support the principal who is the only person officially employed by the government in this school” Anas Lawal said
Kawara Manu community of Maryama LGA in Kebbi State benefits from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Educate a Child (EAC) funded Cash Transfer Program (CTP) for Kawara Manu primary school.
CTP is a social security network to assist the poorest poor in Northern Nigeria to improve school enrolment and quality education for all children. Caregivers of the pupils receive eight thousand (8,000) naira cash incentives to buy school uniforms, books, pencils, and other materials for the children when they are going to school.
The cash transfer program according to Isa Umar, State Coordinator Kebbi State Cash transfer program, has motivated mothers in the community to send their children to school.
“the success of the cash transfer program is that we now have more pupils in school” Isah said.
“While the primary school of kawara Manu recorded increase in school enrolment, the challenge is sustainability; the families whose children finished primary school in 2018 would want them to continue to secondary and the fact that the community does not have a secondary school to encourage continuation for the children who had benefited from CTP at primary school. This Secondary school started to ensure that the children are able to continue secondary classes immediately” said Musa Ibrahim Kawara, Principal of the new Kawara Manu secondary school.
Sensitization by the state government and UNICEF on the benefit of education has also helped some of the families, one of the teachers, Kabiru Isah noted that the initial plan was for the secondary school to start-off by enrolling only boys, two weeks after commencement, women in the community insisted that the girls should be allowed to join the class.
“I am happy about the turn-out, everyday more people bring their children who have finished primary school, especially those who finished three years ago but could not continue. Most of the girls are free and they learn how to read and write, they can also communicate in English” Kabiru said
“these young men are trying, they teach Mathematics, social studies, health education, English Language, they have done their best without government motivation if the government can do something for them they will be motivated to teach these children” said the principal Ibrahim
“We need more teachers, extra three block, administrative rooms, writing and teaching materials, we are just in one term you can see that we already have 90 students, we need to provide quality education” Isah said.
Girls like 10 years old Amira Musa, Salamatu Musa and Saima Mahamad said they now have more interest in education because they have good teachers and are going to further their studies to become medical doctors in the future.
On the shortfall of teachers in Kebbi State, Mr Isa Umar said about 1,000 teachers and 300 supporting staffs have been recruited in 2019 to support the existing education workforce in the state.
The improved interest in school enrollment in Kawara Manu Community is as a result of the success of the UNICEF’s Educate a Child Cash Transfer Program.