The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, said the free basic education policy in the state is saving parents N3 billion every year.
A statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, on Monday, said the removal of hidden fees and levies have helped parents bring more children to school.
According to the statement, Mr El-Rufai made the disclosure in a speech on education reforms in Nigeria which he delivered on Monday at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State.
The statement said the enrolment in public primary schools has doubled from 1.1 million in 2015 to about 2 million in September 2017.
“The governor said that teachers are the most important factor in inspiring their pupils, and therefore the welfare of teachers is a priority for his government, along with fixing the inherited legacy of dilapidated schools,” Mr Aruwan said.
Mr El-Rufai lamented the slide in standard of education noting that as more people go to school, the quality of education appears to be declining.
“Over 11,300 newly recruited teachers have now resumed in their schools of posting, as a believer in the equality of opportunity, Nigeria must be able to give every citizen quality education,” he said.
Mr Aruwan said the governor has been fixing the inherited problems of dilapidated schools, many without desks and chairs.
“This was the beginning of the conversations that resulted in the World Bank approving the $350 million concessionary “Programme for Results” facility for Kaduna State on 20th June 2017,” he said.
He said the governor argued that teachers are central to progressive educational outcomes noting that the state government intends to meet its target of 25,000 new teachers and take steps to enhance the salary and welfare status of teachers.
“The steps being taken range from waiving personal income tax to enhancing teacher pay, investing in their continuous training and providing free housing for teachers posted to rural areas,” he said.
The statement said the country cannot neglect public education if it wants progressive outcomes for all citizens.
“It is the poorest that send their children to public primary schools. We cannot allow the perverse situation of declining educational standards as more people go to school to persist, the statement said .
Mr El-Rufai said the government has a duty to provide globally-competitive education for every citizen as it must invest in preparing the next generation for a world in which technology has disrupted the old certainties.
The governor called for a review of the national curriculum to reflect this shift, and a change in teaching methods from rote learning to an emphasis on teaching children to think, exposing them to ICT and prioritising knowledge over certificates.