MOST subjects that expose students to classic were removed. The study of subjects like Civics were merged with social studies.
No school today teaches etiquette, and attention is no longer paid to morals and manners. Today as Governor Obi has taken steps to return Anambra schools back to those who are in a better position to manage them (the missionaries) he deserves commendation.
Today, all primary and secondary schools hitherto owned by missionaries have been returned to them. What is worth noting is that in returning these schools he did not abandon the basic responsibilities of government unlike what obtains in other states. He has continued to pay the salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff.
As part of returning primary schools, he mapped out N6 billion for rebuilding of the schools. Out of this he has almost given N2billion. This sum is not based on projection as the Governor told us, it is already in the bank. In fact, we understand he told the missionaries that once the first installment is exhausted, they should request for other installments.
The result of this is that Anambra schools are undergoing profound transformation. Same applies to secondary schools. As I write, the Governor is visiting all the secondary schools returned to the missionaries, and N10 million out of the N20 million budgeted for each for the first phase of the rehabilitation has already been given out.
If what has been published in the newspaper is anything to go by, it would be observed that Bishops of the affected schools are falling over themselves in joy and are expressing it through their positive commentaries. First, when he visited St. Charles College, Onitsha, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke described Governor Obi as the number one education and youth-friendly governor. He said Governor Obi was the best the State had ever had.
At St. John of God Secondary School, Awka, the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor was almost short of words to describe the Governor. He marveled that the Governor could, even in the December of his government, when he should be concerned about what the future holds for him politically, still work assiduously for the good of the State. He prayed God to give Anambra State another Peter Obi or someone close.
At Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha, the Anglican Bishop on the Niger, Most Reverend Owen Nwokolo, said that though there were other states that returned schools to the missionaries but none has done as much as the Governor.
Through provision of funds and commitment, he said, the schools are returning to their past glory. Also short of words he merely assured the Governor that the Church will continue to pray for him.
At Girls’ Secondary School, Abagana, which the Governor visited on a Sunday, the Anglican Bishop of Awka, Most Reverend Alex Ibezim merely asked Anambra people to be grateful to God for the gift of Governor Obi.
At Maria Regina Secondary School, Nnewi, the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, Most Reverend Hilary Odili Okeke said that in Governor Peter Obi, Anambra State has witnessed what it means to a Christian and in fact to be at the helm of affairs. Referring to Peter Obi the day the schools were handed over to the missions, the Anglican Bishop of the Province on the Niger, Bishop Christian Efobi went biblical: “when the righteous one is on the throne the people rejoice.”
What could be made out from the foregoing is the fact that education has taken its pride of place in Anambra State and the results are visible. Statistics released by NECO showed that Anambra State came first in its exams.
So did the statistics released by WAEC which showed that Anambra recorded 300 percent improvement in the performance and with measures being taken to ensure that the progress is sustained.
Just as Napoleon Bonaparte once said that if nations want peace they should avoid the pinpricks that precedes cannon shots, everything on earth has its own condition. Most countries that want to be great and be reckoned with in the comity of nations take education seriously as one of the conditions for that greatness.
It is not just enough for the Minister of Education to paint the gory picture of education in Nigeria, something urgent must be done to correct the anomaly.
And until such is done the Anambra example beckons as a light out of this dark tunnel.
Mrs. FRANCISA EBELECHUKWU, wrote from Anambra State University, Uli, Anambra State.