Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has described as his initiative, the “Every Child Counts” education policy which the Federal Government has just adopted.
He stated that the policy was initiated by his administration about 10 years ago when he was the governor of Kwara State.
He, however, applauded the Federal Government for “keying into his decade-old vision for education reform.”
Saraki made the remarks on Friday in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.
He explained that the policy was initiated to resuscitate public education in Kwara State by ensuring an improvement in teaching quality across the state and building strong educational institutions through the development of the Ministry of Education, the Teaching Service Commission and strengthening the State Education Management Information System (EMIS).
“I commend the Federal Government for adopting and modifying the ‘Every Child Counts’ programme that we began in Kwara State in 2008 for the entire country. This shows that this administration values such time-tested ideas that leave positive impact on the lives of our people – especially our young children.
“Right now, our nation is suffering from a rising epidemic. We have over 10.5 million out of school children across the country. In order to systematically and strategically cut down on this number, we must work to implement the ‘Every Child Counts’ policy across the country,” the Senate President stated.
Saraki also emphasised that the Federal Government must work to ensure that improving the quality of teachers through constant training and re-education – which was a central focus of the Kwara State model – must play a central role in the Federal Government’s policy approach.
“Teachers are the bedrock of our educational system. The better and more equipped our teachers are, the smarter and more educationally sound our young children across the nation will be. Hence, it is important that as we work to build strong educational institutions through this repackaged policy, we must also work to enhance the individual capacities of our teachers to meet the demands of a constantly changing world,” he said.
Saraki called on other states across the nation to study and emulate the Kwara State model, while also commending his successor, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, for sustaining the model that his administration began in 2008.
“Right now, we must look beyond our political affiliations to address the issues that are important to our people. Other states across the nation should key into the successes of the Kwara State model, as the Federal Government has done, to ensure that we not only get our students back in the classrooms, but also to improve the quality of their education through strategic and holistic reforms,” the Senate President stated.
“Every Child Counts” is an education policy newly introduced by the Federal Government to encourage children to enrol in schools.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who spoke on the policy at the 60th anniversary of Grange School, Lagos, on Tuesday, said there was need to increase school enrolment which had increased in many cases by over 30 per cent in the last 2 ½ years, largely on account of the school feeding programme introduced by the government.