The Alumni Association of the century-old Barewa College, Zaria, Kaduna State has described the current state of the Nigerian education system, especially the public primary schools as “very depressing”.
In an interaction with journalists at the weekend, the secretary-general of the Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA), Haroun Audu, said the neglect of basic education is having a ripple effect on the quality of graduates being produced in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
He said: “You will agree with me that the state of education in this country has become very depressing.
“Public education has been drawn to the dust, has been abandoned. And you find that as a result, the bad quality in the public primary school is what is feeding the public secondary school, and is what is feeding the public universities system. And so we are struggling with quality across those three levels”
He added: “Education has suffered in this country as a result, and we see (that) in the kind of graduates that we are producing today in public schools. Beyond that, we see even in the distortions now, which has given rise to disagreement between teachers and the government”.
Mr Audu noted that the National Assembly missed the opportunity of making a strong pronouncement when it threw out the bill seeking to stop public officials from sending their children to schools outside the country.
He said while “you cannot legislate decisions regarding parental desires for where their kids should go… the law is made for man, not man for the law. And given our current reality, the dilapidation and the collapse in the public school system, it is a shame that when they were presented with the moment to rise up in the occasion, they outrightly threw out the occasion without making a forceful pronouncement.”
Way forward: Giving back
Mr Audu said one of the ways Nigerians can reverse the current state of education in the country is by going back to contribute to the development of their alma mater.
He said the up-skilling of young people is another important factor to help young people, noting that many Nigerian graduates are poorly skilled for employers of labour.
He said: “Many of these young ones, my personal experience as an employer of labour is; they need to be re-skilled. They come to you as all kind of graduate from universities, from polytechnics, colleges of education, public and private, believe me, many of them are struggling, they need certain type of skills. And there comes in the role of platforms like the Barewa Old boys.
“We can create the opportunity for them to be reskilled, to be empowered so they can play a more meaningful role in the society. So, that way, the cycle continues because they can see the need to pay back,” he said
Activities of BOBA
Speaking on the activities of the alumni association, Mr Audu said the association has been involved in rendering various assistance to the school, trying to make sure that excellence is maintained in the college.
He said when the alumni association noticed a decline in the pass rate of the senior school certificate examinations (SSCE) coming out of the school, they waded in by approaching and providing funds for the National Teachers Institute to train teachers at the college.
He said the alumni association has also built a hall, hostels and the construction of a borehole as well as fencing of the campus.
He commended Kaduna State governor, Nasir Elrufai, who was also a student of the school for giving priority to education in the state.
“Hate him or like him, he has a passion for education and he has tried to show that by how he has engaged the issue of teaching quality. Quality of teachers, and then the quality of infrastructure and facilities,” he said
He added: “We orchestrated the 100 anniversary in such a way to turn back, what can we do back to the state government to make sure that the school has better laboratory facilities.
About Barewa College
Established in 1921 first as Katsina Teachers’ College, the school had its name changed several times before Barewa College was settled for in 1971.
First as Katsina Teachers College at the time of establishment, it became Katsina Higher College, later Kaduna College, Zaria Secondary School, Government College, Zaria and finally Barewa College, which was a coinage from the logo of the college; Gazelle, an animal whose name in Hausa language is ‘Barewa’.
The college is famous for producing the most number of presidents and heads of state in the history of Nigeria, having produced to date, five presidents, over 20 governors, several ministers and heads of agencies of government as well big wigs in the private sector.
Nigeria’s first prime minister, Late Tafawa Balewa; Late Premier of Northern region, Ahmadu Bello; Late General Murtala Muhammad; Late Shehu Shagari; and Late Umaru Yar’adua are the five presidents produced by the 101-year old college.
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