Sokoto state governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has on Tuesday commenced an enrollment programme to admit one million, two hundred and sixty eight thousand (1,268,000) new pupils into primary and junior secondary schools across the state. The programme, flagged off at Bodinga LGA of the state, seeks to enhance access to all eligible children to universal basic education and promote retention, completion and transition of students from basic and secondary levels to tertiary institutions in the state.
Tambuwal while speaking at the event, assured that government will strengthen the enrollment drive to ensure that it achieved its objectives.
“Parents will be supported with a conditional cash transfer programmes by the government to ensure they allow their children attend classes. The government will also deploy technology for biometric data capture of those enrolled in order to keep track of their school attendance and performance, and at the same time, take steps to address constraints and challenges that may arise while they are in schools,” he said.
Dr. Muhammad Jabbi Kilgore, the state commissioner for basic and secondary education, said the theme for the enrollment drive is, ‘Catch them early, keep them long.’ He explained that the campaign will be aggressively conducted to massively register children with special focus on girl child with a view to lay solid foundation on gender balance in schools.
Hailing this as a welcome development in the state, UNICEF’s Chief Field Officer in Sokoto, Mohammad Mohiuddin, said the enrollment campaign could not have come at a time considering the fact that Sokoto has the highest number of primary school children that are out of school in the country, most of who are girls.
He, however, said that the state is currently one of the five states in the North that is benefiting from UK and US governments’ funded Girls Education Project phase 3.