By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government has threatened to prosecute any private school in the state found running online classes for students or pupils as the lockdown directive on the schools programmes and activities following outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic was still in force.
This decision was reached during an interactive session of Akwa Ibom Education Think-tank Committee with Education Stakeholders in state on Monday.
The Commissioner for Education, Professor Nse Essien during the meeting said that the state government does not authorise any form of resumption of schools, either in school’s environment or online for the 3rd term 2019/2020 school year.
He said that the state government would announce the resumption of both public and private schools in the state when it is convinced of safety of the children.
The state government therefore threatened that any school, either public or private that goes contrary to the instruction to keep schools closed till the environment is safe enough for children, would have its operational licence withdrawn and defaulters prosecuted.
The Professor announced a regretable Information that some private schools in the state have reportedly commenced the 3rd term online and have asked parents and guardians to pay fees and purchase digital gadgets for their wards.
“This should be discontinued forthwith. Any school that goes contrary to this instruction will have its license witdrawn and will be prosecuted. However, we encourage our schools to start online revision classes with their students who are still at home”, he said.
Essien disclosed that the ongoing School-on-Radio programme for Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary 3 in the state was put in place to help the students prepare for their external examination, adding that government has also commenced the School on Radio programme for the primary schools this week.
He added that later in the week, a special website where all the lessons so far delivered on Radio would be hosted to enable students to go back, revise and download both audio and lecture notes in lessons already delivered.
Essein said following the intention of Governor Udom Emmanuel, to bequeath a solid foundation for the sector, there was the need to reinvent Akwa Ibom State to be an active participant in the coming digital revolution through quality education and innovations.
He said the education system must go through a thorough transformation to meet up with the demands of the future.
The Education Boss said it was based on the desire of the state to produce first class experts and professional that the state government set up Education Think Tank Committee to study, evaluate and make imputs that would overhaul the system.
Professor Essien therefore solicited the continued commitment of the State Education Think-tank Committee in order to realize its purpose of re-engineering the education system. “We must reinvent Akwa Ibom to be an active participant in the coming digital revolution through quality education and innovations.
“Our education system must go through thorough transformation to meet the demand of the future. Furthermore, the post COVID-19 education will be quite different from what it used to be”, Prof Essien stated.
In his remarks, Chairman Akwa Ibom State Think-tank on Education (AKTTE) , Professor Hilary Inyang assured that with the commitment of all the stakeholders, the project of developing and launching Akwa Ibom Strategic Education Roadmap would be successfully achieved.
He assured that none of the memorandum from stakeholders would be left out in the analysis, adding, “The governor has said that solid education foundation will be one of the legacies he will be leaving behind and that is why we are having this ten years (2020-2030) roadmap when significant development will be made”
“We have to gather information, no plan is worth implementing without gathering information, analysing information, looking at advantages and disadvantages of approaches, optimising systems, taking into consideration all the factors, jurisdictional, all the factors, budgetary, all the factors policy wise that is likely to work in the environment and that is our approach. The first step is gathering information, consulting you and this is why we have this forum.
“I can assure you that it is not our interest to push you out with what you are already doing, but we would like to enhance. We are not here to replace you, but to help you in respect to efficiency, cost effectiveness and expansion of some of the good things you are already doing,” Prof. Inyang said.