…as Obaseki’s education reform pulls students to public schools
Fresh details have emerged as to how Edo State recorded the least number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, beating 35 other states in ensuring that children remain in classrooms.
The NBS recently released the Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey 2016-17, showing that Edo State had a total of 79,446 out of school children, a feat that sources say is as a result of long-standing reforms of the Edo State Government and the fillip it received under the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration.
The NBS ranking is coming at a time parents and care givers are pulling their children and wards from private to public schools as a result of the impact of the ongoing reform in the state’s education sector, introduced by governor Obaseki.
The Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme, prioritises teacher training and the deployment of digital technology in teaching, amongst other initiatives.
An education expert in Benin City, Mr. Lucky Isibor, said that the feat was a result of a number of factors, such as “the regular payment of teachers’ salaries and the more than the usual attention the state government is paying to the education sector, especially teachers’ welfare.”
He explained that “while the former Governor Adams Oshiomhole-led administration paid attention to the physical structures in public schools, such as classroom blocks, laboratories and so on, governor Obaseki has ensured that the teachers are adequately trained and equipped to perform their duties.”
He added that “teachers are now very proud of their profession because governor Obaseki has dignified us with world class trainings and teaching tools. So we are proud to do our job and keep the students in class.”
According to him, “We are very happy with the results of the survey because it shows that much as there are outstanding issues to address in the education sector, Edo State still ranks highly among its peers in Nigeria.
“Edo-BEST is revolutionising infrastructure in schools and has restored the confidence of the masses in public schools. With this, a lot of people, seeing that the schools are now conducive for learning, encourage their children to go to school.”
An educationist, Mr. Efosa Imasuen, on his part, said that an improved welfare package for teachers also contributed to why they were able to keep children in school, as not only were teachers paid as at when due, they also got loan packages to remain motivated.
He said, “A lot of people do not know that when your salary is regular and your job is secure, you can plan and obtain loans to build your own house and buy a car and do other things. You will not play at your job as a teacher when you enjoy these incentives. You will do your best to take care of the pupils under your watch and more parents will be encouraged by the teacher’s attitude towards the children to send their children to school.”
“This contributed to why the state government recorded such an impressive number of children staying in school.”
He added that with the Edo-BEST initiative, “People are quite excited about the prospect of their children learning with digital aids in public schools.”