By Peter Okutu
EBONYI Professionals under the aegis of Ebonyi Transparency Accountability Network, ETAN, weekend organised a training workshop for 100 students drawn from the 3 senatorial zones of the state.
The purpose of the training is to assist the local and state governments towards reposition the education sector in the state.
Speaking during the two-day workshop at Agon Palace in Abakaliki, Mr Eze Igwe, ex-President of ETAN who represented the current President, Mr Ikechukwu Okogwu, added that the initiative behind the gathering was for the students and their teachers to be exposed to the modern day curriculum and the need for Ebonyi to catch up in the area of Education.
He said: “We are starting something that will have a multiplier effect on our educational system and we hope that government will embrace it. Before we conceived this idea, we had an interaction with the government but we are doing a test run and then, with the success, we will record, the government might decide to invest fully in this kind of project to benefit the generality of the schools in Ebonyi State.
“Ebonyi Transparency Accountability Network (ETAN) is a group of professionals from Ebonyi State and we are almost 200 members cut across different sectors of the economy who are engaging government to insist on good governance, transparency and accountability in public office especially in public administration.
“We are insisting that the people of Ebonyi State deserve to get a dividend from every government in power and not just getting a dividend, but also being able to measure growth and development within the state.
“Now, because we are professionals, we are used to having milestones in terms of the achievements we record as individuals in our professional capacity.
“We want to bring that level of corporate governance into a public office so that we can be a purpose and goal oriented society. Now, because of that, ETAN adopted education as a major corporate social responsibility.
“And in the course of that, we have executed essay competition. Now we are introducing STEM to schools in Ebonyi State. It stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.
“This programme is training 100 students cut across schools across the state. Each senatorial zone is represented here with some of their teachers. We solicited and we have volunteers also from Ebonyi State supporting this programme.
“Most importantly, we are delivering this programme in conjunction with a foundation in the US called HOPAS foundation. So the guys you have seen in there are all the way from Florida. They are helping us to introduce STEM to our schools.
“Over time we are going to even broaden it to train even more students but our ambition is to have STEM entrench in school curriculum so that students from Ebonyi State do not feel disadvantaged when they go into the outside world and encounter people from other places.
“STEM has become the mainstay of academic’ curriculum in a lot of places and that is why you would have seen records being set by people from Anambra State with students going abroad to represent Nigeria in STEM-related competitions and coming first and putting their state on the world map.
“We also hope that with time Ebonyi State will also be seen in that light as a technology advanced state that is pushing for excellence by adopting state-of-the-art and contemporary curriculum to improve education within the state.
“And we also want to grow our education profile. Most people refer to us as the educationally disadvantaged part of southern Nigeria but we have seen that we are also doing very well in WAEC.
“We want to see that the kinds of products that our schools churn out from the state are highly competitive and highly productive human resources. That’s what, in a nutshell, what we are trying to do.”