Rivers State after pumping at least N100 billion in the past five years in educational infrastructure is now set to unveil a 50-year plan to take education to world-class level.
The plan to unveil the roadmap slipped through the governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, at the second day of the state’s two-day education summit in Government House, Tuesday, when the governor responded to appeals for a 10-year plan to consolidate the gains so far achieved in education sector.
Rivers State is building 750 primary schools with world-class standards at N115 million each, building 24 international standards secondary schools that are being run by expatriates at N4.5 billion each, equipping the schools, employing 13,000
fresh teachers, has established a University of Education to groom top teachers, is relocating the state’s University of Science and Technology (UST) to a new location with N150 billion to make way for the UST to take off properly and create space for a college of education for the return of grade two teachers, and to use information and computer technology (ICT) to drive the new education curriculum in the state.
Rivers State has also set up a quality assurance agency to make inspection a serious matter while also setting up school-based management committees to put every school under steady and close watch.
These have, however, raised fears by stakeholders about what would happen when the man with the passion, Amaechi and the driver of the passion, Alice Nemi-Lawrence (education boss) leave office in 2015.
To consolidate the system and to take the education dream to full maturity, being to enthrone an educational system that gives all children equal chance for world-class knowledge and turn the knowledge to entrepreneurship, the state government resolved to develop a 50-year roadmap that must be backed by law.
The commissioner for education had explained that several education summits have been lined up and several experts lined up to work on every aspect of education management so that by 2015, there would be a complete and comprehensive policy document that would deal with the policy and action plan for every aspect with a law to back it up. The agencies and school based management committees would complement the work of the ministry and make education for all a responsibility for all.
All these are coming at a time experts led by Gori Olushina-Daniel of Adams & Moore (UK) said there is no free education anywhere in the world, cautioning state governments to know that someone must pay for it. He said the state must identify those who benefit from education and make them pay for it: government, companies, parents, and ex-students.
Helen Fadipe, a management expert investigating impact of investments in education and health sectors, shocked the audience when she revealed threats to the sterling infrastructure so far put in place and indolent actions on the part of teachers.
She joined in asking for a review of the free uniform policy of the administration to boost free books in the face of free education, free bags, free sandals, etc. She said late issuance of the uniforms was making a mess of the policy.