By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.
As primary and post schools in Akwa Ibom State resumed for the current academic year, the state government has cleared the air that the implementation policy of free and compulsory education at the basic level has not been cancelled in the state.
Gov. Udom Emmanuel accompanied by the state deputy governor Mr. Moses Ekpo made the clarification during an interaction with a cross section of journalists, media managers and publishers as part of events making the 29th anniversary of the state creation at the Government House banquet hall, Uyo, Tuesday.
Emmanuel said the clarification was necessary to avert rumours making round on the introduction of tuition fees in the public primary and secondary schools in the state, announcing that no directive has been given to head of schools to commence the collection of fees in schools.
The governor said the recent educational stakeholders submit held in the state has nothing to do with any plan by the state government to discontinue from the free and compulsory education policy inherited from the immediate past, pointing out that even the communiqué of that education stakeholders submit was yet to be made available to the government.
Emmanuel explained that the essence of the educational stakeholders submit was not meant to create the platform of discussions on the cost aspect of education rather the need to look back on the quality and standards of education offered in public educational institutions in the state.
The governor said it was disturbing to realize that many parents would prefer to sponsor their children at high cost in low standard educational institutions outside the state and the country instead of considering the need to partner the government in resuscitating schools in the state.
He mentioned that in the aspect of providing boarding facilities the prevailing conditions in the economy has to be put side by side in charging substantial payments from parents, adding that in granting boarding the respective schools need not subject the children to situations of hunger and malnutrition.
The governor reiterated that the commitment of his administration reside in ensuring that the children of Akwa Ibom and those from the neighbouring states obtaining education in the state are offered quality education, remarking, “whatever we spent in education is an investment, we’ve to restate quality and not quantity in education”.
Governor Emmanuel stated that in the school year, the state government spent over N600 million to pay for West African Examination Council (WAEC) for students in public schools across the state.
He called on the people of the state to embrace the change policy as capsulated in Dakkada Greed which is about attitudinal change toward wealth creations if the state must surmount the current economic challenges.