Peter Mbah, Enugu State Governor, has promised to spend 30 percent of the 2024 state budget on the education sector as it remains the state’s greatest weapon against poverty.
Governor Mbah, who made the declaration in his keynote address at the 19th convocation of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Agbani, on 17 November 2023, said his determination was to ensure that the poorest child in the most remote part of Enugu State receives world class education using tools of the 21st century.
The governor, who also is the Visitor to the University, said the most radical changes in the education sector under his watch would take place in the area of basic education.
“There will be changes not only in the curricula, but also in the models for delivering knowledge in our educational institutions. The most radical change will take place in our basic schools where our children spend the first nine years schooling.
“Therefore, in 2024, we will be spending close to 30 per cent of our state budget on education, well above the recommended international benchmark.
“In my view, education is probably our greatest weapon in our war against poverty in the medium to long run.
“It is for this reason that education is at the core of the strategy, which we envisage will see us boost our GDP from the current levels of about $4.4 billion to at least $30 billion by the end of 2031.
“This is why we have designed and are implementing a most revolutionary strategy to revamp the current educational system. This revamp will be extensive and exhaustive, ranging from the basic schools through secondary to tertiary institutions like ESUT,” he said.
The governor said his administration had completed the construction of one smart school, awarded contract for the construction of another nine, while 250 more would be constructed in less than 14 months to cover the entire 260 wards, adding that teachers for the pilot model school were already undergoing training by global experts.
“These smart schools will each be equipped with internet access, solar power, a centre for robotics and artificial intelligence, a modern ICT centre, two well-equipped laboratories for primary school and junior secondary school, a studio for creative production, 25 inclusive classrooms, with interactive digital whiteboards, android tablets for pupils’ use, among others,” he explained.
Speaking, the Vice Chancellor, Alloysius-Michaels Okolie, commended Mbah for the laudable vision for education in the state and great support to ESUT since the governor’s assumption of office.
He said the ESUT management was repositioning the institution in line with the governor’s educational vision and policies.
The convocation also saw the conferment of honorary doctorate degrees on some distinguished Nigerians, including the
Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Osagie Okunbor;
Group Managing Director of Afrivest West Africa Ltd, Ike Chioke, and foremost estate developer, Ugochukwu Chime.