The education of young girls should not just be a top priority, our children must also be taught the highest standards of honesty, piety, and hard work, in order to build a healthier, happier and more prosperous society.
These views were expressed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday at the virtual inauguration of the school-based Management Board of Adawiyya Girls Academy, Minannata community, in Sokoto State.
Acknowledging the brainchild of the Academy, Hajia Rabiatu Adawiyya, from whose name the school is endowed, Osinbajo noted that despite the fact that she did not undergo formal education, she “understood a reality that even the best minds are only just realizing, that when you educate a girl, you educate a whole society.”
The Adawiyya Girls Academy, established in collaboration with Text Foundation – a digital and foundational literacy nonprofit organisation – is a state-of-the-art school designed to provide high-quality education to young girls from less privileged backgrounds with modern education using advanced teaching tools.
A section of the school, which combines science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in its teaching curriculum, is dedicated to training women in entrepreneurship.
According to the Vice President, “ignorance has no benefit, ignorance is darkness but education is the bright light of knowledge that can help us to live healthier, happier and more prosperous lives.”
However, he added that “education is dangerous without morals and uprightness,” emphasizing that “we must teach our children the highest standards of honesty, piety, and hard work.
“I am glad that the students of Adawiyya Girls Academy Sokoto have this great opportunity of being offered both conventional and religious education using the most advanced modern teaching tools available in our time,” the Vice President observed.
Speaking further, Osinbajo said Rabiatu Adawiyya was passionate about the education of girls from less-privileged families.
“Her dream is today a reality and has started a movement that will bring about the education of millions of girls from poor families across Nigeria,” he stated.
He further observed that the people of the Minannata, a low-income community, understood the importance of education, adding that “education is the ladder by which even the poorest can climb to the top in the society, but the ladder of education is a special ladder, it is not only the educated person who climbs, their family members and others around them can learn from them and also begin to climb the ladder to the top.”
Acknowledging the school’s STEM-based approach, he noted that “a lot of thinking has gone into designing the curriculum for the school and we have ensured that we have the best teachers anywhere in the country.
“Technology and technology tools for teaching and learning are a fundamental part of our pedagogy. The school’s technology facilities are state-of-the-art and the school, in keeping with best practice, has an intentionally optimized teacher-to-student ratio,” he said.
The Vice President thanked the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Mutawalle of Sokoto, for the consistent support he has given to the school, especially in enrolling the teachers of the school into the State Civil Service.
He also commended the leadership of the Minannata community, especially the traditional chiefs led by Maigirma Ardo, Alhaji Aminu Garba Riskuwa, for his selfless service to the people.
“The parents and guardians of the girls have also been outstandingly cooperative, in some cases their enthusiasm and commitment to the education of their children has gone perhaps even beyond the call of duty.”
The Vice President mentioned the example of Malama Zali Bala, the mother of Hafsat Bala, “who when teased about having only female children, will point to examples of great women from within the community and express pride and hope that, with education, Hafsat will one day join that same league of great amazons.”
Osinbajo also highlighted other parents like the 68-year-old father of one of the pupils, Hauwau Muhammad Danchadi, who he noted enjoyed walking his daughter daily to and from the school.
He also recalled his own experience saying “I value education and one of the things I enjoyed then was taking my young daughters to school.”
The members of the School’s Management Board include the Vice Chancellor, Uthman Dan Fodio University (UDUS), Prof. Lawal Suleiman Bilbis (Chairman), who was represented by UDUS Deputy Vice Chancellor – Academics, Prof. Muhammed Mahuta; Dr. Balkisu Saidu (Representative of the Family & Vice-Chairman); and Dr. Muhammad Lawal Maidoki (Representative of Sokoto State Government).
Others are Alhaji Aminu Garba Riskuwa, Maigirma Ardon Minannata (Representative of Traditional Rulers); Abdullahi Muhammad Babangida (Representative of Community); Mrs. Rahimat AbdulMalik (Head Teacher & Representative of Parents/Teachers Association); and Mr. Enajiyerin Anthony Enajite (Representative of Text Foundation & Secretary of the Board).
Alongside members of the management board, those present at the virtual event included teachers, students, staff of the school, and traditional rulers, who joined in from the School’s environs.
In her remarks, Balkisu Saidu, who is also the daughter of the endower (Adawiyya), thanked the Vice President for his selfless service to humanity.
Also speaking, the Secretary of the Board, Enajite, thanked the Vice President for his dedication and expressed his delight in the ‘historic’ inauguration and education of young girls in the Academy, having grown up as a young boy in the same community.
“I also enjoyed the free education being given to these young girls as a young boy at the age of six through the benevolence of the Sokoto State government. Based on this, you could understand how I feel when I see these girls and this gesture by the community and Text Foundation,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Traditional Rulers and the community, Alhaji Aminu Garba Riskuwa, thanked the Vice President for his support, noting that they will continue with their efforts towards ensuring the development of the school.