By Malam Isah Abbas Ahmed
There is a saying that says: “Do not allow the PERFECT become ENEMY of the GOOD.” Unfortunately, I have the feeling that we are moving towards this scenario in Kaduna State based on the way El-Rufa’i running his administration. It is also important for any business to begin with “Starting Small, Thinking Big” and not the other way round.
While I recognize the Governor’s effort to feed pupils and provide them with uniform free, I still maintain my stand that this is GROSS PRIORITY MISPLACEMENT based on the points raised below. The governor should’ve consider this as the last action after putting all in order.
1. As we all know, the primary objective of sending our children to schools is learning. If the Governor knows this, I wonder why he will not focus on strengthening the whole education system within the state instead of wasting huge amount of money in feeding these pupils.
2. It is indisputable that the present state of learning environment in public school across the nation, Kaduna not exception, is not conducive for learning. I believe making it conducive and suitable for learning holds highest priority than feeding pupils.
3. Standard of our teachers is in a bad if not terrible state. Most teachers are teaching not as a choice but as an option of stop-over before they get another job. I believe motivating teachers in all ways should be placed before feeding pupils. If pupils are fed while their teachers are hungry, then what will they teach? And what will the pupils learn???
4. As discussed with numerous primary school teachers in the state, I discovered that teaching aids and other materials are not made available to them. These teachers mostly contributes from their pockets to buy chalk. Even though the governor might not be aware of this, It is very disheartening to appropriate huge amount in the budget to feed pupil and leave teacher with burden of providing these basic materials from their little salary that they suffer before they get (where months turned to 41 days).
5. Sustainability, to me, is a BIG issue here. The governor went ahead and initiated this without looking at different angles of sustaining it. in a nutshel, he started BIG while thinking SMALL. This project requires money and it is recurrent not one-off project. In the state of our economy presently, he would have hold on a bit to see things stabilize first before pushing his head into large bowl. In addition, the governor would’ve learnt from experience of Osun State where they fed pupils for certain period and failed to pay teachers’ salaries for same period.
6. As at today, in a primary school in Rigasa Kaduna, sharing food began at 9am and did not end until closing hour (3.5hrs wasted) without lesson(s) done for the period. Truly, here, the PERFECT (feeding) became a big enemy of the GOOD (learning).
Finally, I think the Governor is trying to miniaturize the brains and thoughts of Kaduna State people and make headlines for his future selfish interest. If so, he should be fully aware that we are all-eyes-opened and shall not allow anything of this nature happen. We are not BRAIN-DEAD as he once called PMB.