Obaseki and his Midas Touch Intechnical, Vocational Education

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Obaseki rural tour

Rosemond Ugbe

Rhe institution of goodgovernance forms the policy thrust of any responsive government. Such a governmentmust be able to impact positively on its domain during its tenure inoffice.
However, most leaders aspireto positions of authority without a clear-cut agenda or blueprint of whatgovernance entails. This shortcoming ultimately leaves the electorate asvictims of poor governance and underdevelopment.

Education is the greatestlegacy that any government can provide for its people to engender growth andprogress. It is the mainstay of innovations and ideas that can be galvanisedinto growth units for the socioeconomic transformation of the state.

Quality education entails amix of technical, vocational and theoretical aspects, designed to producedesired products for advancement of the nation.

Recognising the importance ofeducation as the bedrock of development, with special emphasis on skills andmanpower development, in driving the economic growth of Edo State, GovernorGodwin Obaseki, upon assumption of office convened an Education Summit tofashion out ways to revamp the technical and vocational sub-sector. Concerns ofstaffing, building of infrastructure, procurement of equipment and provision ofa conducive learning environment in line with current trends, were highlighted.

Prior to the advent of theadministration, Edo State had four technical colleges located in Benin City,Afuze, Igarra and Irrua. The present administration created a new technicalcollege which is the old St Kizito College at Isi in Uhunmwode Local GovernmentArea.

The schools were a shadow ofwhat ought to be in terms of vocational training, manpower and equipment. It ison record that the last renovation works and procurement of equipment in thecolleges were done in 1983. There was also a decline in enrolment and parentswere not forthcoming in sending their wards to the schools.

Governor Godwin Obaseki,after a guided tour of Benin Technical College (BTC) now Government Science andTechnical College, in line with the administration’s job creation initiativethrough skills acquisition, embarked on an action plan to restore the glory oftechnical colleges in each of the senatorial districts with the pilot scheme atBenin City, Igarra and Irrua.

The mandate was to redesignthe programme based on informed decision from the findings and subsequently,the schools were renamed Science and Technical colleges to reflect the reforms.
The Government Science andTechnical College (GSTC) in Benin City was reconstructed with new classroomsand workshops as well as modern equipment. New teachers were employed anddemonstrators were also recruited for the workshops which never existed in allthe technical colleges in the state.

The GSTC was also equippedwith an E-library which is connected to the internet. Power supply is constantas power is connected to the national grid for the effective deployment of theinstructional materials in the school.

At Igarra and Sugberu, IrruaScience and Technical Colleges, structures in the schools have been upgraded,more classrooms have been built, instructional equipment procured and moreteachers and moderators employed to man the workshops.

It should be pointed outhere, that one of the greatest legacies of the present administration is theutilisation of the interventions and grants for development and upgrading ofthe schools which had existed in the past, but were barely accessed.

It is worthy of note that theteachers and moderators in the pilot Science and Technical colleges are beingtrained and re-trained on how to source instructional materials and to boosttheir competence and capacity on the job. The overriding effect is that thestudents now have knowledge of digital science and emerging global trends inlearning.

Another milestone of theGovernor Obaseki’s administration worthy of mention in technical and vocationaleducation in the state is that all the Science and Technical Colleges have beenaccredited in line with the requirements of the Vocational and TechnicalEducation Board, having passed through the enlistment process of the programmesin the colleges, verification and subsequent accreditation. This isattributable to the reforms in technical and vocational education which haveyielded dividends.

It is evident that GovernorGodwin Obaseki is determined to transform the educational sector and properlydirect the resources of the state towards human capacity development.

We are confident that anotherfour years in the saddle will sustain the ongoing reforms in educationaland infrastructural developments, open up new vistas of ideas and innovationsand propel the economic, social and political advancement of the state.

One therefore wonders whatEdo State would have been in the area of vocational and technical educationwithout Governor Godwin Obaseki.

––RosemondUgbe writes from Benin City.