Education plays a key role in the progress of every nation. By the witness of history it is proved that, the nations that survived in the world, are nations that placed education as first priority and as their national target. Since independence, successive governments accorded importance to education and endeavored to improve the low indicators, but progress has been slow. In recent years, the government of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s approach towards planning and delivery of education has been guided by overall reforms of the system and offering free and compulsory Education to the both citizens and none citizens in Akwa Ibom State
The value and role of ”knowledge” is different in every culture, but good basic education is essential in every culture and at all levels. A carpenter needs to know what an angle of 90 degrees is. When a mother does not want her child to get diarrhea, she needs to know the basics of hygiene. Millions of Africans do not have access to information on HIV/AIDS because they cannot read.
Basic knowledge and access to information enables people to choose good governments (or to oust bad ones). The effectiveness of investments in health and sanitation depends on good basic knowledge among villagers. The effectiveness of extension services for poor farmers depends on their capacity to understand what is being explained to them.
A recent OECD study states that those few countries in Africa that years ago significantly invested in (primary) education, now derive economic growth from this investment. Going back in history, it is generally acknowledged that the introduction of compulsory primary education in Western Europe in the 19th century has been a crucial factor for economic and social development
Giving priority to primary education does not compete with other sectors, it supports their development. A well educated population is also crucial for countries wanting to take advantage of market opportunities, wanting to export or to attract foreign investment. Free market access is important but what do you do with it if your country has no competitive enterprises because its population cannot read or calculate or is not innovative.
The absence or the poor quality of basic education not only becomes visible in illiteracy but also shows its effects among people who do finalize secondary school and university.
Ministries, factories, hospitals and farms in developing countries often work inefficiently, not because the people working there are not capable but because they lack the right knowledge and skills.
Primary and Secondary school teaching is the dual most important profession in the world. Teachers pass on knowledge and values to children, prepare them for further education and for working life and are main contributors to good education.
This most important profession however does not get the recognition it deserves. In the developed world, young people don’t want to become a primary school teacher anymore. In most developing countries the profession does not attract qualified and ambitious people because it is poorly renumerated. This is reason, Udom Emmanuel’s administration dismantled the recruitment of 5000 teachers because most of the teachers do not possess the right qualification for the job.
It was Edo State government in the year 2015, which discovered that, majority of their teachers cannot read and write ,it was a big indignity to the people of the State as the SSCE results was very pitiable. Then, the Government of Adams decided to investigate the qualification of teachers.
Likewise what is happening in northern part of Nigeria, where most teachers cannot read nor write, but the Akwa Ibom State government does not want to give room for such unqualified teachers, as the administration insists on teachers with NCE or BSC and can also defend their certificates .
To attain the goal of universal and good primary school education, teaching has to become an attractive profession again, this is why the State government ensures, all teachers are paid their salaries, arrears, and also organize training and re-training , as car and housing loans are made available for them to asses.
Teachers are one of the main pillars of a sound and progressive society. They bear the weight and responsibility of teaching, and, apart from parents, are the main source of knowledge and values for children.
For a child between 6 and 12, there are basically three options: get no primary education, get low quality primary education or get good quality primary education. In spite of our world being immensely rich, the majority of children have to settle for option 1 or 2. At this very moment, over a hundred million children get no primary education at all. And over 500 million of them get it but the quality is low: they have little or no books, their class-room is poorly equipped or simply doesn’t exist, or they have a teacher whose level of knowledge hardly surpasses that of a SSCE or who is not well motivated.
This the much reason, Governor Udom Emmanuel has committed himself to development of education using all apparatus of governance. He constructed over one hundred class room blocks, equipped the labs ,reconstructed about two hundred class room blocks, through the inter-Ministerial –Direct Labour jobs .
His Government is also providing text books, library, desks , Laboratories and constructs internal roads in the schools to avail the student a serene environment for comfortable learning.
The universally subscribed goal that “by 2020 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality” (Declaration of The World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal in 2000) can only be achieved if children can have access to motivated and knowledgeable teachers.
This is what Governor Udom Emmanuel has fully implemented in the State. The books are important, the pencil and the blackboard are important and so are the chairs to sit on. But if there are no motivated and intelligent teachers in front of the chairs, if there is no teacher to write on the blackboard and to teach reading, mathematics and how to pick up knowledge and values, the goal will never be achieved.
So many who see his administration’s sack of the 5000 teachers as vendetta for a particular tribe, should have a re-think. The child you educate today , will be your builder tomorrow . The recruitment process , did not follow due process. Investigation into most of their certificates through the Schools revealed that , the certificates were not only fake but these persons names are not in the master list of the Universities they claimed to have attended.
The Udim’s Government have also made commitment to recruit 10,000 teachers and qualified persons out of the sacked 5000 teachers ,will be given employment before others .
An increase in the number of students attending and completing primary school is placing intense pressure on Akwa Ibom State governments to meet the growing demand for secondary education, Uyo High School alone have an influx of more than five thousand students and this has caused the government to construct new class room blocks and also employ more qualified teachers to equate the growing population in the schools
There can be no escape from poverty without a vast expansion of secondary education, this is a minimum entitlement for equipping youth with the knowledge and skills they need to secure decent livelihoods in today’s globalized world.”
In Akwa Ibom there were 30,000 secondary students in 2007, compared to 100.000 thousand in 2012 and in 2016 there are 300,000 students.
Much of this growth took place because of the free but qualitative education provided by the Governor Udom Emmanuel led government. Education is a consuming passion of the people and Government of Akwa Ibom State. From 2007 till date education moved from ruins and commodities beyond reach to citadels of equal opportunities practicing well-articulated and State Government fortified Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme, with government regularly raising standards to ensure greater performance.
Education in Akwa Ibom has grown in leaps and bounds to become a major component of state economic empowerment and development strategy.
Formal teaching processes are conducted with academic and extra curricula activities together with structured teaching systems for best-in-class education.
Governor Udom Emmanuel wants educationists here to build careers out of intellectual capital with curriculum re-designed to emphasize functional use of acquired knowledge. His government has re-awaken Inspectors to go round schools to make sure the right things are done teachers are motivated, trained and adequately supervised to ensure better delivery.
With Akwa Ibom’s venture into free and compulsory education for primary and secondary schools, government granted children equal opportunities to develop worthwhile careers to benefit the society. With this policy the state’s education sector became re-branded, re-positioned, and completely re-packaged. Also, with domiciliation of the Child Rights Act by the state government, education in Akwa Ibom became a fundamental right for all children residing in the state.
One of the greatest legacies the current administration has bequeathed on the people of Akwa Ibom State is the free and compulsory Education policy. Under this policy, Akwa Ibom children of school age go to school free from primary to senior secondary level. In addition to free tuition, the State pays a subvention of N300 per primary school pupil and N500 per secondary school student to cater for logistics and expenses for the administration of each child.
Having emerged from the worst ruins and house maid-slavery in generations, Udom is doing all in his capacity and beyond to broaden the total recovery as he is performing superlatively in the State to spur wealth and job creation, he is also looking into the future –education and industries of tomorrow in an increasingly competitive global economy.