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Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'i (Honourable Minister of education)


Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, the Minister of Education from Jigawa State was born on February 19, 1959. She obtained a B.Ed in History from the prestigious Bayero University Kano in 1981, an M.A in History from the same university in 1987  before obtaining Ph.D in Education from West Virginia University USA in 1991, she was promoted professor in 2003.

She has an inspiring public service career of over 28 years as a lecturer and an administrator. She has several publications to her credit and is a multiple award winner. A member of many professional bodies and a resource person at several conferences both within and outside Nigeria, Prof. Rufai is known to be actively involved in community service. She was a two-time Commissioner in Jigawa State.

She has so far inaugurated Task Teams to fashion out a Four-Year Strategic Plan to address the challenges facing the Education Sector and to reposition it to be able to produce individuals with the skills and competences that would drive the socio-economic sector of the economy and to make Nigeria globally competitive.

Ministry of Education through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund had commenced the construction of 58 schools for the Almajiris, while the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, is constructing 51 of such schools. The Government has also set in motion modalities to ensure that all nine newly established Federal Universities start academic programmes within the 2011/2012 session. The new universities are situated in Bayelsa, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, Taraba, Gombe, Nassarawa, Kogi and Ebonyi States.

The training and re-training of teachers has received a major boost as the Government has committed N9.2billion to this programme through the National Teachers Institute and UBEC.

The ministry is working towards promoting school debating culture amongst Nigerian students to encourage them to research into critical areas of national development. The programme of the President’s School Debate would be incorporated into the national Bring Back the Book Programme which will be well funded and monitored to achieve the desired results.

The sum of N5.5 billion has also been provided through Tertiary Education Trust Fund to fast-track the take-off of the Life and Human Sciences, University of the African Union, to be hosted by the University of Ibadan.

She made scholarship offer attractive to deserving students by increasing the allowances for postgraduates and undergraduates in Nigeria, presently has instituted the tertiary institutions staff development programme where more than 4,500 academic staff have benefited with 1,109 studying overseas. The sum of N562 million has been released as counterpart funds for international bilateral scholarships awarded to Nigerian students by foreign countries.

Professor Rufai initiated moves to amend the relevant law on the issue of raising the retirement age of professors to 70 years in line with its agreement with ASUU.

She is working towards the conversion of Kaduna Polytechnic and Yaba College of Technology to universities so that they would increase access to tertiary education.