UNDISPUTEDLY, education is regarded as the bedrock of national development of a nation. On this backdrop, Anambra State Government through the Ministry of Basic Education has reassured its commitment in providing good and quality education for ndi Anambra.
The Commissioner for Basic Education, Kate Omenugha made this known in an interview with our reporter recently at the state secretariat, as schools within the state set in for another school calendar for the year.
According to her, the state government has mapped out pragmatic plans and measures towards enhancing quality education in the state. She emphasised that educational sector does not run in years, but rather in its calendar and that there are key things the government wants to keep on doing, that fall into the year 2020. “One of the things that are critically important is that we are starting to aggressively sanitise the school system especially in the area of accreditation of the private schools. Yesterday, we held a meeting with our ZDOs and AUOs, and they have been mandated to ensure strict compliance by the private schools in terms of making sure that they are registered. His Excellency, the governor of Anambra, Chief Willie Obiano, actually directed last year that we publish in the newspapers and announced in the radio also, the names of unapproved schools in the state. We are going to publish and announce them this year and the deadline of just this session to get in line.”
She also noted that Anambra State Government through its inclusive government has always been tackling educational challenges of those in remote areas. “Again, we also hope to change the school calendar of the riverine areas. That is something that is very crucial, a very big innovation because of over flooding, many of them stay out of school more than a term. Sometimes a term and more, so we are going to get the approval of the EXCO members. We have already designed a new calendar for them, when it is possible for them to be in school when others are on holiday and during the term of over flooding, they are now going to stay on holiday. ”
The Commissioner expressed optimistically that the ministry hopes on finalising with secondary schools to cue into the system of the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme (ASHIA). “Today, what I have been doing is attending to the calls of sick children, especially the ones that the government is sponsoring; giving full scholarship and the Secretary of the ASHIA has been doing very fantastic, trying to help me to get those children to hospital
In her response to vision 2020 in relation to education sector, she expressed that it entails having access to quality education, among others. According to her, “2020 is here, isn’t it? That is what the government has been doing over time; we have been building ourselves gradually to this year. We have improved infrastructure in a whole lot of ways. We are building more hostels for the schools and getting the children to cue in the boarding system especially in our technical colleges. We are equally providing the students hands-on practical experiences, and we are employing more qualified teachers in our schools. The one that is going on now is for mathematics and science teachers. In ensuring recruitment of competent teachers, we have tightened up the way recruitment is done. His Excellency has mapped out ways to do that. We take steps that are very standard and go on to do Computer Base Test (CBT). We believe that for 21st century education to be very relevant, there has to be technology. We have built the capacity of our teachers continuously in ICT and other areas”..
The commissioner also revealed that the state is on the move to turning schools into semi model schools, which are selected based on senatorial zones (one each). “We are looking at the schools from senatorial zone, we look at some of the schools that the communities have also helped and those that are in strategic places. For example, Florence Azikiwe Model Comprehensive Secondary School, Neni has won the overall best schools in Nigeria last year. That is one reason we chose the school because it has already a platform which we can develop. Also Igwebuike Grammar School that we chose also is very old school and strategic. A school like Cave City Secondary School right there along the road at Ogbunike. We are going to give them a good facelift.”
Remarkably, the state has on its part embarked on training and retraining of primary and secondary school teachers in a bid to blending in the contemporary system of education, employed over 1000 teachers last year and more in view, rehabilitated dilapidated school structures. More so, at both national and state levels, some schools and students have won several laurels, not excluding teachers in the state that have won national awards, all leading to one of the visions of the state government in providing ndi Anambra education that is globally competitive.