By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
President Goodluck Jonathan through the Minister of Education has in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital flagged off the training of over 140,000 teachers nationwide in line with the federal government 2010 Millennium Development Goal declaring that the country’s crusade against poverty reduction will continue to be a mirage if it fails to invest in the educational sector.
In an address delivered at the flag off of the Capacity Building Workshop for primary school teachers held at the Integrated Cultural Centre, President Goodluck Jonathan assured that the federal government would continue to give education the deserved attention as it is considered as the heart of development.
The countries, which have made the greatest progress in poverty reduction he declared “are those that have adequately invested in education.”
Represented by the Minister of Education, Prof Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, the President lamented the dwindling fortune of the sector, which he blamed on inefficiency of the teachers as well as the rot in the society.
President Jonathan noted that it was high time the nation got its bearing right, so as to meet the millennium goals and restated the federal government commitment to the sector as well as the implementation of the Teachers Salary Scale, (TSS).
According to him, “education will continue to be given the necessary attention in all our education planning, because we consider it as the heart of development. Countries which have made the greatest progress in poverty reduction are those that have adequately invested in education.”
The President added that his administration was ready to collaborate with the teachers at achieving the set goals, adding, the government recognised that teachers are a critical factor in any effort aimed at improving the quality of education.
“Our administration, therefore, will continue to support the National Teachers’ Institute NTI so that it could adequately continue to produce and upgrade teachers for our great nation. We will also encourage the institute to undertake other programmes, tailored to enhance teachers’ competence.”
On the capacity workshop for the teachers, he said it would assist and equip teachers to acquire, develop and increase their knowledge of the subject matter and pedagogical skills, for effective performance in the classroom.
“The retraining programme under the Millennium Development Goals was conceived to provide for the time lag between pre service training received by serving school teachers and the experience acquired during the service.
The purpose is to enable teachers to blend their pre_service and in_service experiences to enhance their performance in the profession,” he said.
Earlier, the state governor, Chief Timipre Sylva called for the collaborative efforts of all the tiers of government in the country in revamping the ailing educational sector, adding, “It is the bedrock of socio_economic development.”
The governor who spoke through his deputy, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu, stressed the needs for peace across the nation, noting that no meaningful development could take place in an atmosphere devoid of peace.
He urged the participants at the workshop to avail themselves the opportunity provided to improve on their knowledge.
Speaking on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education, the Minister of State for Education, Barrister Kenneth Gbagi stressed the need for teachers to upgrade their qualification, warning that any teacher that fail to meet the deadline would be shown the way out.
His words, “the teacher, who for obvious reasons, could not afford to enroll for higher education, is bound to be out of date, and will be out of touch with current trend in education practice.”