- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Addressing the school children, their parents, teachers and many other citizens that graced the occasion that day, the governor declared, “the free and compulsory education is an irrevocable programme which will be kept on course by my administration,” adding that the government attached great premium to the education of its citizens for all round development of the society.
Making good his administration’s commitment to the implementation of the programme, the government of Godswill Akpabio expended a total of N10.4 billion on the improvement of education, science and technology in the state in the 2009 budget. That expenditure could be seen in the renovation, rehabilitation, and construction as well as the equipping of public schools across the state.
During the 2010 budget breakdown given by the state commissioner for finance, Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan, noted that the policy objectives of the government under the education sub-sector included the expansion of facilities to cope with increased school enrolment and the provision of teaching aids in public schools both primary and secondary to provide the needed support for the government policy of free, compulsory and qualitative education.
He said the implementation strategy included sustaining the policy with emphasis on science and technology as well as information and communication technology. As such, the state budgeted in 2010, N35.3billion for both recurrent and capital expenditure under the sub-section which covered education, science and technology.
The commissioner for education, Dr. Nseabasi Akpan said the governor by the programme had been able to guarantee a safe and bright future for the children, adding that Akwa Ibom citizens were saved from ignorance, illiteracy and house help syndrome which had for long plagued the society.
Dr. Akpan also commended the governor for the massive school rehabilitation, provision of school desks, books, science equipment and facilities as well as for being the first to sign the Child Rights Act into law and first governor to become Exam Ethics Chief Marshal in the country.
However, the rot of the decades past in the education sector in the country can not be addressed by government alone nor in one term of four years of an administration. The challenges are still obvious. Besides, the free education policy has attracted enormous influx of pupils into schools with limited infrastructure as well as limited number of teachers.
Some schools experience a large turn out of students resulting in some instance to about 150 students being accommodated in a class meant for 50. The crippling effect of having many students in a class is that they learn little or nothing because the teacher cannot be in control.
John Akaniyene, an indigene residing in Abak Local Government area of the state, suggested that the government should expedite actions in implementing the year’s budget in order to achieve the provision of more infrastructure to reduce the burden of the teachers.
Adding, “more teachers should be employed in our primary and secondary schools so that we do not lose the benefit of free education.”
Edet Okpo gave more insight into the challenges the government has to grapple with in some rural areas whose schools are yet to be touch.
In Okobo, he said, “students of National High School and Community Secondary School Odobo are not enjoying the free education as dilapidated structures litter the institutions with negligible number of classroom blocks which cannot accommodate the students.”
In Comprehensive Secondary School Nnung Obong Ubium in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, the situation is the same.
Besides the dilapidated structures, there is also a dearth of teachers to contain with the influx of students occasioned by the free education policy of the state government. There are some school subjects without teachers. It was discovered that in the current academic session, students of the school have not been taught Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Economics, Integrated Science, Introduction to Technology, Commerce and Social Studies, among other subjects.
A school of about 560 students have just seven teachers. The Vice Principal of the school, Mr. Enobong Edoho, stated that the school was ill-equipped for national examination such as JSSCE and SSSCE. He, therefore, called on the state ministry of education to come to the rescue of the school.
Similarly, the Vice Principal of Community Secondary School Eyoabasi, Oron, revealed that the school had a population of about 3000 students for the few number of dilapidated blocks of class rooms. He said the 20 teachers in the school could no longer cope with the population of over 3000 students.
Obviously there are daunting challenges for the government in the actual implementation of the education policy but the determination of those saddled with the responsibility to push and implement the governor’s directive must equal that of the governor for the true success and benefit of the programme to be achieved.
As the governor himself puts it, “let us, as we take deserved pride in this policy, never forget that we can tar all the roads in our state, build countless infrastructure and establish sundry industries, but if we do not train the next generation to manage these legacies, our efforts would be in vain.”Share