NI MA NA YARDA: A Pro-Education State of Mind

I woke up to an auspicious morning. Then I thought about it, realized it must have been a dream. But then I remembered that I did in fact wake up earlier and what I read may have not been a dream, even though it fits well in a dream.

I read that a legislator from Katsina State has withdrawn his children from a private school and enrolled them into a public school. Nigerians are such satirical people, so perhaps I should not pay it attention… but then I realized it was posted by a “serious” person Auwal S. Anwar. I know Auwal, although in no way lacking humour, holds this subject too dear to make a joke of it, especially because there was a picture that seemed to support his post. I checked the NI MA NA YARDA facebook group and found the legislator (Abdullahi I. Mahuta) himself had made a post.

The picture was of two children, and here is what I saw and read:

NI MA NA YARDA in Action!

These are Honourable Abdullahi I. Mahuta’s children, Imam and Muhammad, whom he removed from a private school in Kaduna State and enrolled in a public school in Katsina State. Mahuta is known for his campaigns on this issue. And we are all in it with him. Today he is upping the ante. Now the ball is in our court.

Well done, indeed he is earning the honour in honourable.

I was impressed with this move and wanted to share this information with people I know to be interested but found that it had not been publicised… YET. On Auwal’s suggestion (perhaps in jest), I decided to blog about it; but simply drawing from his writings. (I am glad to find out that someone will be writing a newspaper piece on the topic to do it justice, which I plan to link here)

Background

NI MA NA YARDA (literally: I also concur) is a concept/movement to recover the debilitating education system in Nigeria by becoming ACTUAL stakeholders. In its mild form, it calls for a more egalitarian education where education inequality is minimized by citizen action. In its strict form, an education policy that restricts public officials from enrolling their children in schools other than public schools. The logic is simple: those who influence education policy should do it as if they are doing it for their children… but since most have their children elsewhere, the policy would make it easier for them to “feel among”.

Teaching career has long been made the dumping ground for the societal miscreant and the unsuccessful. For the better among them, it is a temporary job before finding “greener pastures”. Even I recall in secondary school, teachers bragging about how they were better than their jobs and how circumstances have got them in it. Hausa people have a (very unfortunate) practice where they believe that the remedy to a societal miscreant is that he is wedded. It seems this philosophy is creeping into our public education; societal miscreants given a teaching job. Like I said, the aim of NI MA NA YARDA is simply to incentivize the influential into being ACTUAL stakeholders in public education.

Taken from a post on NI MA NA YARDA, here is some staggering information about Katsina State; the State our legislator is from. In 2011, “no single kobo” was released to the oldest highest institution in the state. Only 10% of allocated funds were released to Science and Technical Education board; and only about 16% was released for state-wide educational sector for capital expenditure. Corruption unaccounted for; the ACTUAL figure would be eroded to single-figure percentage.

Coincidentally, a past aspiring governor of the same Katsina State held similar ideas for the State; which may have meant mild (by example) and strict (by policy) implementations simultaneously. On the other hand, the Katsina State legislator is taking the first step of NI MA NA YARDA in its mild form, before embarking on its strict form.

I learnt Ogun State recently attempted to effect a similar policy but it was murdered by the legislature; not unlike Julius Caesar (It’s back stabbing to benefit from public education then kill its revival). Moments like these makes one crave for true federalism and politics based on ideology, for if these exist, the two legislators (whom I believe spearheaded the attempt) in Ogun State and the legislator in Katsina State could be peer-legislators (in same State) and speed up the change.

The Challenge

Organize and start participating. Two issues regarding its practicality are (and by no means exhaustive): whether doing so will have an effect; and whether it will destroy the education of your children. For the former, I suggest forming a local group (say 5-10 families) then enrolling into the same school so that there are enough qualified/influential parents monitoring school progress. For the latter, know that enrolling your child in public school does not exclude home tutorship (after all you don’t expect the changes in the school overnight).  It might be rough at first, but it is possible, just a little more creativity.

Kano State ought to start. I hear the new government is making it difficult to run private schools anyway, through high taxes. Better give it a go than to wake up to a state without private schools. (Money saved could be put into home tutorship. Wink wink)

Contact (to be updated):

http://www.facebook.com/groups/349400128471492/

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5 Comments

Filed under Commentary on Media

5 responses to “NI MA NA YARDA: A Pro-Education State of Mind

  1. Brilliant Bilal. And I wasn’t joking when I asked. Well done.

  2. Lukman Bugaje Kabir

    I was privileged to meet the Honorable member, he is in deed a man of vision for Katsina, the plan is to persuade the government to make a law that would compel all civil servants, officials and politicians to register their Children in Public School. Realizing such an idea would be extremely difficult to actualize, he devised a realistic approach:to make it a law, but how? As a minority in the legislature he knows he cannot persuade or even lobby for the support of his colleagues, so he decided to enroll his children to public school (which he did in a publicized ceremony), the next step taken is public enlightenment; through Facebook, Radio jingles, visits to various trade unions and traditional unions. The idea: to galvanize support that would make it possible to compel the State Assembly to sign it into law. If successful i believe it will make the education system sound as it should be. The list we can do is the give this initiative all the support the we can, I commend Auwal Anwar and Bilal for their excellent contributions toward this noble course.

  3. Mailayas

    I was thinking exactly the same thing just the other day! The fact that I’m expecting my first child brings all the issues we face in this country to the fore. Issues like health and education are always in the forefront for me. I live in Tudun Wada and driving home one day I imagined what it would be like if I put my son/ daughter in one of the LEAs. A school were children without shoes carrying polythene bags as school bags attend. Do I have the courage like Honourable Mahuta to take such a gamble with my child’s future? It remains to be seen…

    Thanks Bilal for the post. Incidentally I was looking for Auwal Anwar’s guest column!

  4. Kabir Adamu

    A nice piece keep it up.
    Public Education system has been a big source of concerns.Something need to be done.

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