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RE: THE PITIABLE STATE OF ABIA SCHOOLS

By Moses Nna
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Our attention has been drawn to a hatchet job carried on the Education Reviewpages 25-27 of Daily Sun of Tuesday 11th June, 2013 on the above subject matter. It beats ones imagination that at this stage of 21st century journalism, news correspondents would embark on premeditated wild goose chase with scant regard for balanced reportage. Without mincing words, that report of a purported decay in education in Abia State is full of barefaced lies, outright falsehood, jaundiced and ill-motivated analysis as well as a hyped misinformation with the intent to paint Abia State Government in a bad light.

Of course, we know the desperation of the sponsor to always give Abia a negative publicity but the mischief had as usual, collapsed like a pack of cards and fizzled out like ungodly propaganda.

Education is one of the key areas where the administration of Governor T.A. Orji has taken radical steps to restore its glory. Renovation of dilapidated buildings of both the primary and secondary schools is a cardinal policy which Governor Orji has sustained since he came on board. As at today, the State Government has embarked on construction and reconstruction of over 154 classroom blocks, in both the primary and secondary schools across the 17 LGAs in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which the State Government had initially paid the counterpart fund of N1 Billion.

It was not surprising that in 2012, the Abia State Universal Education Board was recognized as the best managed basic education board in the South East. The Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) also received the Governor's matching order to take rehabilitation of schools as a priority. Today, about 78 primary and secondary schools have been renovated in its catchment areas.

For want of space, we shall mention a few of the renovated and constructed classroom blocks in some schools across the State. Some of these schools include: Owaza Secondary School Obehie, Ukwa West LGA; Akanu Ngwa Community School, Obi Ngwa; Holy Rosary Girls Secondary school, Umuahia; Amigbo Central School, Oguduasa, Isuiwuato LGA; Isuikwuato High School; Lokpaukwu Central School, Umunneochi; Akirika Obu Primary School, Ndoki, Ukwa East; Central Primary School, Umunteke, Ukwa West; Obinolu Secondary Technical School, Umunneochi; Okporo Ahaba Secondary school, Aba; Amizi Olokoro Primary School, Umuahia South; and Ibeku High School, Umuahia.

Currently, the State Government is building three gigantic and model one-storey classroom blocks of 28-Room capacity in each of the three senatorial zones in Abia State. For Abia North, it is located at Ovim (Technical) Secondary School, Isuikwuato; for Abia Central, it is located at Government College, Umuahia while the one of Abia South is located at Abayi Girls Secondary School, Aba.

One wonders why the authors of the so called education review in Abia failed to source for facts at appropriate quarters. In fact, the report leaves much to be desired. One, it concentrated its analysis only in Aba and closed its eyes from schools in the other LGAs. Aba metropolis has only 2 LGAs out of the 17 that are in Abia State. Even those pictures of dilapidated buildings that were displayed on the pages of newspaper are not anywhere in the school premises of those schools in Aba. Two, it deliberately glossed over areas in the education sector where the State has received national accolades.

Abia State has maintained a tuition-free education in public primary and secondary schools since 2007 and that naturally increased school enrollment. Over 1000 students of tertiary institutions have continued to receive the annual bursary awards since 2008. Government has periodically acquired and distributed free textbooks, thousands of exercise books and teaching aids to schools across the State. These encouraging packages have been yielding outstanding results. In 2012, three Abia students won the NNPC organized science quiz competition for secondary schools in the country. In the same year, ASOPADEC equally organized quiz competition for the best science schools in the 12 LGAs of its operations to encourage hardwork and excellence among secondary schools in the State. At the end of the exercise, the school that came 1st got a brand new Hummer Bus, the reward for the 2nd position was a cheque of N2Million while the 3rd position received a cheque of N1Million for upgrading their libraries and laboratories. The Federal Ministry of Education's study of literacy rate and drop-in-school enrollment, ranked Abia first in having done well in literacy rate and enrollment of children in schools.

To boost the capacity of teachers, Government has invested heavily in organizing workshops, conferences and seminars to enhance efficiency, productivity and expose them to the modern teaching techniques. Resource centers and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centers were established to improve the knowledge of teachers in a fast-changing globalized world. Governor T.A. Orji is also building a gigantic modern library complex at Ogurube Layout, near the State House of Assembly Complex, Umuahia.

Abia State Government has also mustered courage and took decisive step in returning some missionary schools to its original owners as a pilot phase. This is done to facilitate and kick-start a rejuvenation of the dwindling standard of education especially in public schools. Governor Orji, by this gesture expects the schools owned by churches to assist in arresting moral decadence ravaging our youths and instill a culture of merit and excellence in intellectual pursuit.

The tertiary institutions in Abia State have not been left out in the robust education policies of Governor T.A. Orji. The upsurge of fine structures and infrastructure face lift of the campuses remain a testimony that education occupies a pride of place in the policy thrust of the State Government. The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) is equally attracted to the various campuses in building some of the new offices and classroom blocks.

Abia State University was enabled to attain full accreditation in virtually all the courses approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the students have fared better in competitions with other universities. Even the State Polytechnic at Aba has proved through the performances of her students that the institution enjoys enabling environment that promotes academic excellence.

It therefore becomes worrisome that the self-appointed assessors of education in Abia State could not operate above personal prejudice and parochial interests in misguiding the public with blatant falsehood. My take is that no quantum of propaganda will diminish the high performance rating of the present Abia State Government by those whose stock in trade is to engage their connections in the media to disparage a purposeful leadership acknowledged by a wide spectrum of enlightened minds.

Moses Nna wrote in from Ukpakiri, Obi Ngwa LGA, Abia State.





Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Moses Nna and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."