Vanguard awards

April 24, 2024

Vanguard Personality of the Year: Obaseki, reviving education through EdoBEST

Vanguard Personality of the Year: Obaseki, reviving education through EdoBEST

By Ozioruva Aliu

When Edo State Government launched the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation, EdoBEST, in June 2018, many people saw it as another jamboree and a programme that would go the way of theories without action. 

However, five years down the line, countries like Rwanda and Sierra Leone have come to study the model and replicated it in their countries. 

In Nigeria, three states, namely, Bayelsa, Kwara and Lagos have copied and replicated the model. 

The novel programme, which is to ensure a uniform teaching and learning structure for teachers and pupils, enables a pupil in second year to read and write with electronic gadgets. It also ensures that teachers’ punctuality and physical presence can be monitored. 

The state government further invested in the training of teachers on modern teaching techniques. It was so successful that Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2021 launched EdoBEST 2.0, which extended the project to Junior Secondary Level of education. 

During a recent in-lesson and carol organised by the Ministry of Education, Obaseki said the state is now a reference point in Education Reforms in Africa because of EdoBEST. 

He said his administration will be leaving behind a strong education system to cater to the educational needs of all categories of students. 

“I am happy watching these children perform this afternoon at the nine lessons and carols. Seven years ago when we resumed as a government, we didn’t have this but I am happy we are leaving this behind.

We are leaving behind an education system that has come to stay and caters to all, particularly children of the ordinary man and woman of Edo State. 

“What you have witnessed here today is the hard work and dedication of some people who have worked with me to turn around the education system in Edo State. Edo is now the reference point in Africa for education reforms and this is due to the hard work of the Commissioner and her team. They have put in enormous work over the last several years. This will be my last outing with you as an ecosystem to celebrate Christmas but I want to assure our students that what we have started, it will be difficult for it not to continue and be sustained, due to what we have put on ground.” 

The governor called on Edo people and other stakeholders in the education sector to rise and defend what his administration has done to ensure quality education for Edo children, adding: “We believe that Edo people will not fold their hands, including all other stakeholders and allow things to go bad the way it used to be.” 

Speaking on the development, the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Oviawe, who midwifed the birth of EdoBEST, said it is expected that the next administration would continue the policy irrespective of the name they choose to give it. 

She said: “Lagos State, Kwara State and Bayelsa State came to copy the model we are using here to replicate in their states. They call it Bayelsa Pride in Bayelsa, Eko Excel in Lagos, they have their peculiar names. 

“People see what we are doing and they want to emulate it and adopt it to meet their needs. What we provide is a sort of formula, an education reform that is homegrown. There is nobody coming to tell us to do this, do that. We are doing it ourselves because we have the support. We are the ones doing it. The key thing is to be able to do reform and skill. 

“A lot of the reforms that some of these international donor agencies are doing is pilot maybe they want to pilot with 10 schools or 50 schools, but we are doing it in all our schools and it is a lot of work. Whether in the rural or urban areas, we are doing it and everybody is being pulled into it. If you don’t know what you want to do, if you don’t want to be involved, we will find a way to push you out of there, so it is a hope system reform not just one thing. 

“There is Edo 2.0 which is from basic level all the way to secondary. It covers every aspect and it is not just an acronym. EdoBEST is an aspiration that Edo wants to be the best at every level of education. It was launched in June 2021.” 

For the future of the programme, Oviawe said: “The whole idea of EdoBEST is that we are putting together a system that will continue to deliver quality education. Whether it continues to be known as EdoBEST is up to the people coming next but the most important thing is that irrespective of the name, it is the system we are putting in place. 

“Rwanda has their own now. People came from Sierra Leone, Finland was to come but because of COVID-19, they and others that were supposed to come, could not. Those who did, came to learn our model which they wanted to replicate in their states.”

As part of the results of the programme, over 600,000 pupils have so far benefited from it since its inception in 2018, according to the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Ozavize Salami.

She added that no fewer than 380,000 children are receiving relevant and nextgeneration aligned learning, which are made available to 1,289 basic education schools (primary and junior secondary schools) across 18 LGAs in the state. 

The SUBEB boss said 181 projects have been embarked on in primary and secondary schools in the state to improve on their infrastructure. 

While stating that the state government provides free education for pupils up to JSS 3, she added that the school curriculum is enriched with long-term skills that would give them an edge in competing should they decide to discontinue their education. 

She further disclosed that between October 2021 and July 2023, under EdoBEST2.0, the administration distributed over 11,635 digital work tools comprising smartphones, teacher tablets, Samsung tablets and power banks to various stakeholders in the basic education ecosystem. 

She gave the breakdown of the digital tools distributed to include 249 Samsung tablets, 8,841 teacher tablets, 1,154 smartphones and 1,391 power banks. 

“228 schools under EdoBEST have 346,757 pupils, and 15,125 digitally trained teachers. Governance across SUBEB and the schools have drastically improved. 

“More than 1.5million textbooks, homework books, over 7.5 million exam materials and no less than 1.6 million result sheets were distributed to facilitate teaching, learning and assessment. 

“Additionally, over 1,100 toilets have been constructed or renovated with 174 toilets nearing completion. 41 Water projects are also currently ongoing”, she added. 

She posited that while 7,511 classrooms had been renovated, and 321 new classrooms constructed since the start of the administration, and an additional 400 classrooms are being constructed and renovated. 

The SUBEB boss, who also spoke on the efforts geared towards improving school infrastructure, noted that at least 48,950 metres of school fence have been constructed, another batch of fence construction measuring 14,850 metres will be completed before September 2023. 

She said that about 38,000 furniture sets had been supplied to schools while another 10,000 furniture sets are in finishing stages and will soon be delivered to schools for the new academic session.