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How private schools rekindle hope in Yobe by Yusuf G. Yusuf


How private schools rekindle hope in Yobe by Yusuf G. Yusuf

Yobe State has long been considered one of Nigeria’s least developed states in terms of student enrollment and high rates of school dropouts because of the area’s escalating insecurity.

Over the past years, Yobe gradually re-emerges from this stagnant state of affairs as relative normalcy offers yet another chance for parents to enroll their kids in schools, and the gradual increase in the number of children being enlisted has signaled a renewed hope that Yobe state is on track to make a major comeback thanks to the proactive government policy that makes it possible for private schools in Yobe to flourish.

It is a well-known fact that Governor Mai Mala Buni has blazed a trail in Yobe with his pro-education policy that offers special social protection and support for private school proprietors in Yobe.

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As a private school proprietor, I am fully aware of the challenges facing our educational sector in northern Nigeria, particularly Yobe. Our imploding population and limited internally generated revenue, coupled with the insurgencies, mean the government has other critical priorities to pump resources into, and the fact is that the government alone cannot afford to revamp education without investment from the private sector. It is the case in every society that takes education seriously.

Despite investing billions of dollars over the past four years to revitalize the education sector in Yobe, factors like infrastructure, financial oversight, supervision, and the teachers’ welfare remain the stumbling blocks that continue to hamper efforts to effectively tackle the salient challenges facing education in Yobe.

However, the proliferation of private schools in the state is an indication that all hope is not lost.

Due to our desperate quest for academic excellence and our desire to groom our younger generation in the face of unprecedented technological advancement, it is in our best interest to aggressively teach our school kids computer science and other in-demand skills that can guarantee their success in life.

The fact that private schools offer an alternative for parents to enroll their kids in schools they view as more efficient in terms of supervision and discipline is in our best interest; moreover, it ensures poor parents are also able to afford fees and other charges.

But the economic situation in Nigeria has put a lot of sectors, private schools included, at greater risk of collapse.

It’s against this backdrop that more efforts are needed to support private schools in Yobe due to the immense contribution they make to society.

Fountain Islamic Academy, for example, has been able to achieve a lot over the past seven years in terms of discipline, stellar student performance, and staff welfare. Our mission is to offer the best education at the most affordable price, and we still adhere to our mission because we do our best to make sure parents are able to settle their children’s school fees. It is noteworthy nonetheless that our bumpy journey to success is replete with seemingly insurmountable challenges that once threatened our corporate existence.

However, the experience we have gained over the years adds credence to the fact that any institution that aims to positively impact the lives of people is sure to suffer surmountable setbacks and challenges, which are an integral part of the process that ensures success.

As demands for quality education and highly sought-after skills continue to rise, private schools will surely continue to play an active role in Yobe, and policy direction that aims to bolster the role of education in Yobe and beyond.

Therefore, the government should double its effort to support the struggling private schools by further regulating the sector and sponsoring certain pro-educational projects that motivate parents and pupils alike to understand that nothing assures a brighter future and a more prosperous existence than quality education.

Yusuf G Yusuf is a civil servant, also school proprietor of  moral Fountain Islamic Academy nursery, primary and secondary school in Yobe

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