To those who do not travel across the length and breadth of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on a regular basis, developments in the territory would seem to them as a mirage. Abuja is one of the fastest and growing capital territories in the world. This is as a result of a survey carried out by the United Nations in their world developments report (WDR). This assertion has confirmed that Abuja is a fast developing modern city.
The sectorial developments in the FCT in recent times when reviewed with infrastructural developments in the past will show that the momentum has changed for the better. The dream of making Abuja one of the best federal capitals is still alive if the present tempo is maintained. The Abuja development index must not only be gauged on the basis of the physical infrastructural development but must include the intangible sectors like the education and health sectors which have received massive investments from the administration in recent times.
The educational and the health sectors of the FCT development processes have received tremendous attention from the authorities. To ensure that education remains the indelible right of every child in the FCT, the present administration incentivised the leapfrog approach to the development of the sector by recently presenting certificates to over 140 newly approved and accredited schools, bringing the total number of public and private schools in the FCT to a manageable 572.This is prior to an evaluation by the inspectorate department which certified that these schools are competent in the areas of physical infrastructural facilities and environmental, academic and support services, and above all welfare. Five new secondary schools namely, GSS Bukpe, GSS Gosa, GSS Paikon-kore and GSS Gwarinpa Estate have now been established to tackle the influx of students into the FCT which increases the pressures on overstretched education infrastructure in the ever expanding city. This also necessitated the closure of over 556 illegal private schools after they were deemed not to have the required standards as stipulated by the educational board. The administration has also settled its liabilities in the counterpart projects with other international partners that are aimed at boosting the educational facilities in the FCT. The released counterpart authorised is to the tune of N2.8billion which enabled the administration to access the UBE funds, including the unpaid arrears of the 2014 for the teachers professional developments fund, among others which brought the FCT up to date in its financial obligations to UBEC. To this end such projects as the Nigerian-Korean Model School, the construction and rehabilitation of over 400 primary and junior secondary classrooms blocks across the territory, fencing of three secondary schools, furnishing of classrooms, offices, transit and staff quarters at the University of Abuja, Abuja University of Technology, Abaji; provision of laptops to secondary schools in Kuje and Jabi among others, have been completed and paid for.
Other projects worth N3.8billion that were awarded and completed include the furnishing and equipping of science laboratories at GGSS Kuje and GGSS Abaji for computer- based exam centre, ITVI, supply of laptop computers for students support programme of the FCT scholarship board, Area 11 Garki, development and expansion of e-education database and network infrastructure at DPPR, amongst others.
The FCT administration is even doing more and the benefit of these investments in educational infrastructure is manifesting daily. FCT schools have been reaping the fruits of improved investments by the government as attested by the prizes and awards that were won during the year. Schools in the FCT have excelled in many local and international competitions they partook in. Example is the National inter-school space competition held at NSPRA, Abuja with a cash prize of about half a million won by an Abuja school.
- Jamila Musa, Abuja