Basic Education: The Restoration Administration Has Done Well
Education is of utmost importance in eradicating unemployment problems in any society. It is also essential for improving trade and commerce, and to bring prosperity to the country. It was to boost the chances of youth education that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme was launched and executed by the government. Although Nigeria has not arrived at the targeted destination, so much has been achieved through the UBE programme.
Basic education is an evolving program of instruction that is intended to provide student with the opportunity to become responsible and respectful global citizens, to contribute to their economic well-being and that of their families and communities to explore and understand different perspectives. The Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme is Nigeria's strategy for the achievement of Education For All (EFA) and the education and poverty-related Millennium Development Goals.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act 2014 makes provision for basic education comprising of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Primary and Junior Secondary Education. The financing of basic education is the responsibility of States and Local Governments.
However, the Federal Government has decided to intervene in the provision of basic education with 2% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund. For States to fully benefit from this fund, criteria were established which States are to comply with. Basic education refers to the whole range of educational activities taking place in various setting (formal, non-formal, and informal) that aim to meet basic learning needs in the society. It is regarded as a priority for developing countries and is the focus of the education for all movement led by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
In the world, Primary Education is the Initial stage of education and has its basic aim to create, establish and offer opportunities to all children, regardless to all age, gender or country of origin, to achieve a balanced cognitive, emotional and psychomotor development. The importance of primary school education is that, it brings awareness among the masses, opens avenues for opportunity as well self- advancement and improvement and reduces chronic and inter-generational poverty. The Restoration Administration has achieved so much by executing major educational programmes spread across the State, raising the hope of the youths for a bright future. At inception, during the inaugural address of Governor Seriake Dickson, government declared a State of Emergency on education.
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State hit the ground running by reforming the Law establishing the Board with Comrade Walton Liverpool as the Executive Secretary. Bayelsa State Universal Basic Education started by embarking on a comprehensive renovation of Primary School's Staff officers and building of quarters for school heads across the local government areas of the State.
This is followed by the 25 mega Schools in Zarama: Kaiama, Azikoro, Bolou-Orua, Elebele, Agoubiri, Igbeta-Iwoama, Gbarain-Ekpetiama, Amassoma, Sagbama and Ebedebiri. Others are in Agudama-epie, Otuoke, Odi, Toru-Ndoro, Toru-orua, Aleibiri, Ekeremo, Nembe-Basambiri, Nembe-Ogbomabiri, Oporoma, Ogbia-town, Opolo, Swali and Okpoama.
The government also embarked on reconstruction of over 200 dilapidated public primary and secondary schools building across the State and an equal number of . Some of the structures are being remodeled to provide for ICT, libraries, science, laboratories, and toilets facilities. The Restoration Administration has also completed eight (8) model secondary schools and 25 constituency schools with boarding facilities across the State, fully equipped with science laboratories and modern facilities required for 21st century learning.
Additionally, the Restoration Administration has rebuilt and upgraded St. Jude's Girls School; Amarata, which is the oldest Girls Secondary School in the State and Bishop Dimieari Grammar School (BDGS). In the first year of declaring a State of Emergency in the Education Sector N180m for the provision of 100,000 pairs of uniforms, N480m for 1.860,000,000 text books, N114m for 512,000 note books, N1, 470,000 for 980 school bags, N300, 000 for 1,016000 pairs of socks and provision of 483,000 pairs of shoes. The restoration administration has also revived the fast fading Ijaw Culture.
A multi-pronged approach is used in this direction first is to make compulsory the teaching and learning of Ijaw language in Bayelsa schools. Secondly, scholarships have been awarded to teachers who are willing to learn and teach the Ijaw language. It is now compulsory that public servants civil servants politicians alike to adorn their native attires every Friday as a way of promoting the Ijaw culture. Government also emphasized the building of strong institutions like the Teachers Training Institute, Sports Academy, and Institute of Agriculture and now the University of Africa. All these would not hav been possible without the leadership of Governor Seriake Dickson and his Deputy Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah Rtd.
Through the Governor Seriake Dickso administration, the youth in Bayelsa gained access to education and developed discipline in life. Education now enables the youth to earn a livelihood. Before now so many parents could not send their children to school because of lack of money, but the Restoration Administration has made it possible for Children to go to school without any expenses by declaring free education in the State. The goal of establishing free education in Bayelsa State is by creating men and women to be living a disciplined life.
The Restoration Administration believes that the most powerful weapon which the State can use to change the world is education. There is no doubt that the Governor Seriake Dickson administration has mustered-up the political will to vigorously pursue human capital development and he has taken the veritable first step in this direction.
The Restoration Administration believes that it is only education that can develop our greatest abilities, dreams which when fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone in the State, with development as a result. So government has spent more than N24 billion on education from 2012 to 2015. The Restoration Administration ensures the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy numeracy manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong Learning.
Governor Dickson’s Administration also drastically reduced the incidence of drop out from the formal school system, through improved relevance, quality and efficiency. Governor Seriake Dickson deserves commendation for establishing and promoting free education in Bayelsa State. The efforts of Governor Seriake Dickson should be commended for this robust educational initiatives.
Miss. Dolly Graham is Secretary to the Director, New Media