This is the flagship programme of ZEDA where seasoned teachers are engaged to coach Secondary School Leavers who could not secure the required credits in their qualifying exams for one year to enable them gain admission into Tertiary Educational Institutions.
The Establishment of ZEDA
Over the years, the development of education in Zaria and indeed most parts of Northern Nigeria has suffered a decline. This had reached a crisis situation requiring urgent attention of all stakeholders including Government and community alike. It was this disturbing trend that generated a series of discussions and meetings among groups and circles of young Zaria indigenes which consequently led to the establishment of a forum to tackle the problems and to serve as a medium and a catalyst for mobilizing the community towards taking concrete actions to redress the situation. Accordingly, the first meeting on the subject was held on 5 January 1992. By 9 February of the same year, at a third and enlarged meeting held at Alhudahuda College Zaria, the name Zaria Education Development Association (ZEDA) was adopted.
Those present at the meeting strongly expressed their concern about the deepening educational crisis in Zaria and the Northern part of the country where statistics tended to indicate that if the trend degenerated a little further, there would be too few young people that would be qualified for admission into institutions of higher learning in the future. A remark made by a former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Daniel Saror, that all Northern States put together, could not produce 30% of the total admissions into ABU in 1992 was a major discussion point at the period. ZEDA founding members also recalled a statement made by the former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mohammed DaboLere, early in 1993 to the effect that there was hardly any student from any of the Kaduna State Government's public schools that qualified for admission into Universities in the 1992/93 session.
Bad as the entire Kaduna State situation was, Zaria Local Government with all the institutions located within and around it appeared then to be one of the worst hit even within the State. The founding members of ZEDA realized, to their amazement that they could hardly identify anybody in their immediate and extended family that was attending any university and where there was anybody, they were hardly doing any course of appreciable professional value. This situation contrasted with 1980s when virtually each family could boast of one or more children in the universities and other institutions of higher learning. The pioneer members of this Association were also deeply touched by the growing army of young intelligent children who could have been groomed to attain higher education but for the poor state of public education and the inability of their parents to support them morally and financially. It is this hopeless situation that indeed made community effort a necessity if the future of the community was to be guaranteed.
During one of their early meetings, the founding members, visited the erstwhile famous Barewa College, only to discover that the school had degenerated to the level that it could hardly be able to produce any students qualified for admission into higher institutions. The quality of infrastructure, staff and staff morale and students had gone down drastically. The question then, was, should everybody just sit down, continue to lament and allow the entire youth in the area to sink with the system? Should the situation be such that the then generation of educated members of the community be the last generation of educated and educatable members of the community? Should the community sit and watch others attend institutions of higher learning located in their environment to the exclusion of their brothers and sisters? Should the community sit and see the nation pronounce its then generation of educated people as the last Professors, Doctors, Pharmacists, Engineers, Nurses, Teachers, Bankers, Administrators, Soldiers, Police Officers, Customs Officers, etc. The founding members of ZEDA decided that they must do something to mitigate the problem even if they cannot salvage it entirely.
Aware that not even Government could solve the problem, the members noted that a determined community effort could still assist a great number of the youth who would succeed them in the future. Having considered the failure of past community efforts in galvanizing and uniting the community for a common goal by eminent people within the society, the members were also determined to ensure the success of the present effort with a modest objective of redeeming at least 50 students every year from the large army of helpless youth which the community has been producing. Early enough at inception, a 5-man committee to draft a constitution for the Association was established. The constitution was produced and the Association was subsequently officially registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission after satisfying all the requirements. The Association also acquired an office as its national secretariat in Zaria and created Zonal branches with Co-coordinators in 7 States of the Federation including Abuja. The Association similarly, created organs among which are Board of Trustees, Central Working Committee, and the Annual General Meeting. A large body of patrons was also created with His Highness the Emir of Zazzau as the Grand Patron. Sub-committees were also created. The sub-committees produced good working papers which have continued to be useful to the Association especially as operational guidelines for its organs.