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Nigerian Academy of Education confers Honorary Fellowship on Governor Timipre Sylva

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The Executive Governor of Bayelsa State has been conferred with the Honorary Fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Education, NAE in recognition of his achievements in the education sector. The Academy commended Chief Timipre Sylva on the giant strides he has taken so far in ensuring that the State is removed from the unenviable list of educationally backward States in Nigeria. The Academy acknowledged the fact that the State has a difficult terrain, yet the Sylva administration has given enormous attention to the production of quality manpower drive the development process of the State.  The Nigerian Academy of Education recounted some of his modest achievements.

Governor Timipre Sylva's visionary and dynamic leadership in Bayelsa State has given a new lease of life to the hitherto comatose Education sub-sector of the state economy. Governor Sylva has tackled head on the issue of decay in the sector.

Some of the land mark achievement this consummate politician and articulate administrator included the constitution of State Universal Basic Education Board which was a precondition for the state for accessing the UBE funds. The Governor also approved and paid counterpart funds for 2006/2007 and 2008 amounting to 2.4Billion Naira.

The money was put into good use. 50 classroom blocks were renovated while contract for construction of 64 4-classroom building were awarded. The projects are at various stages of completion.

5108 units' desks were also supplied to the basic schools to put a stop to the syndrome where pupils perched on window sill and squatted on the floor to receive instruction. 520 teachers' tables and chairs were also supplied. Within the first few months of the administration, the state Government also undertook training of 3000 Basic School Teachers, procured and distributed books for early child education as well as sporting equipment to ensure all round education for the Bayelsa child.

At the Post-Basic level, the education loving Governor ensured the renovation of dilapidated structures in Senior Secondary Schools and constructed new ones to solve the age long problem in public secondary schools. 3000 additional desks were also supplied to the schools. Instructional materials, lack of which has resulted in strike twice before His Excellency assumed office, worth N93million were supplied to all public schools.

Governor Sylva is aware of the prevalence poverty among parents and resolved to pay WAEC, NECO and NABTEB fees for students in public schools. A total sum of N83M was expended in 2008 and N163Million in 2010 on the examinations. A fleet of free school bus was also introduced to commute pupils to and from schools at no cost. These bold steps have increased enrollment and completion rate and drastically reduced truancy.

14 Schools in Yenagoa were fenced and beautified to put a stop to threat of encroachment and activities of reckless vandals. Public schools now have conducive learning environment.

The most remarkable of the Timipre Sylva education policy at the Senior Secondary level is the award of contracts amounting to 6 billion naira for the construction of 3 model schools; with international standard facilities including classrooms, boarding halls, computer rooms, laboratories and libraries are located at Nembe, Yenagoa and Sagbama. The projects are at various stages of completion.

The Post Primary Schools was also reconstituted while classes by remedial was introduced across the state given rise to a statistical landmark achievements; from being the last at the National Examinations to becoming first in NECO and third in WAEC in 2008.

One sub-sector in education that has witness unprecedented patronage is the Higher Education.

The standard of facilities at the state owned Niger Delta University has continued to witness unprecedented improvement. The direct consequence of this is that most of the courses offered by the university now enjoy full accreditation. Some faculties that now enjoy full accreditation include:

Nursing, Law, (backlog of graduates from the faculties, for the first time, were admitted into the Nigerian Law School), Medicine, Pharmacy, Biological Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science, Geology, Biochemistry, Physics, Pure and Applied Chemistry, courses offered by Faculties of Education, Arts and Social Sciences. Government has expended more than Eight Billion Naira on capital and recurrent expenditures in Niger Delta University. Through government efforts, Education Trust Fund, ETF has also invested  about 2billion naira intervention Funds to make NDU a centre of excellence.

Governor Sylva was the first to implement the New Salary scale for the University lecturers.

Chief Sylva also established the Bayelsa State College of Education Okpoama. A sum of 200 Million Naira was released by government to the task-force on the college to ensure smooth take off of the college.

The State Government Foreign Scholarship programme has been reinvigorated with the formulation of a new scholarship policy. Late last year, about 130 indigenes of the state were awarded scholarship to pursue programmes in Malaysian universities. Few others are also on scholarship in Swedish Universities. Recently, the state Governor also awarded Post Graduate scholarship to 8 indigenes that bagged 2 one from the Nigerian Law School.

Total sum of N505, 081, 152 was expended on Malaysia and Sweden scholarship.

The State Government has continued to pay the school fees and upkeep and allowances of the students in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Cost implication for 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 is N814, 385,957.24.

Payment of bursary owed students since 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 academic sessions amounting to N966,223, 928 for those academic sessions is being paid.

113 scholars among those benefiting from Bayelsa State Foreign Scholarship in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine have graduated in flying colours. 40 graduated as Medical Doctors, 45 as Engineers, 14 Social Workers, 4 Geologists and one Pharmacist. More will be graduating within the year.

Government has also reinvented the school supervision mechanism to make it responsive and effective to the educational advancement of the state. Already, the ministry has taken delivery of one double engine passport boat, one 18-seater bus and three Hilux trucks for effective movement of the ministry's inspectors.

Examination Malpractice is a canker worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the education system. However, it is being uprooted gradually with proactive policies introduced. Some of these policies include: stopping midstream admission into exam classes, External Candidates have been excluded from school based examinations; year book has also been introduced to prevent cheating through the use of impostors during examinations. The Government effort has paid off. Bayelsa State was adjudged the best in terms of incidence of malpractice in NECO examination in 2010.

Bayelsa State government was one of the first few states to implement the Teachers' Salary Scale.

Teachers' like any other civil servant can also rise to Salary Grade Level 17. Training and re-training of teaching staff is also receiving premium attention. In this regard, government forged cooperation with experts from the University of Windor, Ontario, Canada to retrain teachers in the service of the state on new pedagogical methods. This has greatly enhanced the capacity of the teachers and empowered them with modern techniques for effective and efficient teaching. 1,000 teachers benefited from MDGs/NTI Training exercise last year. The Ministry also has the mandate to retrain at least 4,000 teaching staff in the outgoing year 2010.

Local Organizing Committee, Nigerian Academy of Education



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