UYOâ€”Akwa Ibom governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has blamed the stunted growth in the education sector on inconsistent policies of past administrations in the country; calling for an immediate reform.
Akpabio, who made this remark when the Minister of State for Education, Hajija Aishatu Jibril Duku, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Uyo, weekend said the introduction of the 1-9 Universal Basic Education system has affected effective learning process and engendered administrative bottlenecks at the primary school level.
He described as apparent confusion in the education sector a situation where pupils undergo an unbroken learning process with two different heads controlling the helm of affairs in secondary and primary institutions in the same environment, asking â€œwith this, are we moving forward or backward in our educational systemâ€.
The governor, who attributed the anomaly in education to the 29 years of military incursion in the countryâ€™s polity, called for a review of the education system, saying even though the country might have signed international conventions to implement the system, she should be bold to take a decision which is in the overriding interest of most Nigerians.
Akpabio emphasized the need for governments at various levels in the country to observe best practices in education and noted that the 10 years of democratic governance has helped to redress some policy somersaults of the previous administrations, commending the drive of Mr. President in implementing basic education as one the seven-point agenda through appointment of credible and tested persons to man the education sector.
The State Chief Executive Officer who acknowledged that quality education helps in the fight against poverty, hinting that his administration has committed N11billion to the renovation of schools and provision of electricity and pipe-borne water in the local government areas.
While pledging to release N1 billion on counterpart funds of 2008/2009 to the Universal Basic Education Commission, he predicted the eradication of house-help syndrome in the state through the introduction of free, compulsory education, stating that â€œMost of ekaetes and akpans in other state doing menial job may soon return home, courtesy of the free education and Childâ€™s Right Act of Akwa Ibom governmentâ€.
Earlier, Hajija Jibril had told the governor that she was in the state to flag off the self-help projects in basic education for the South-South region worth N152 million for the152 communities in Akwa Ibom, saying that N4.2 billion is meant for 4200 communities in the country.
Jibril commended the governor for effective utilization of universal basic education funds and for re-absorption of National Certificate Education holders who did a one-year pilot programme with UBE in the state, calling on other states in the country to emulate the Akwa Ibom example.
She who requested the governor to pay the state share of N1 billion counterpart fund for 2008/2009 to the commission, called on the South-South governors to access the N10 billion on the basic education now in the Central Bank of Nigeria to avoid the sector suffering any neglect in the future.
The Minister, however, made a case for the government to introduce what she called â€œa discriminatory policy on education for girl-childâ€, quoted â€œIf you train a woman, you train a nationâ€ to support her reasoning.
At the formal flag off of the self-help projects in Akwa Ibom, the state Commissioner of Education, Dr. Nseabasi Akpan commended UBE for the commencement of the stategicc self-help intervention programme in the schools across country of which Akwa Ibom is a beneficiary including the increase of the fund from N650,000 to N1 million.
Akpan noted that the state government has invested huge finances in education particularly the implementation of UBE programme of the Federal Government.