By Simeon Nwakaudu
As a Former Minister of State for Education and later Supervising Minister of Education, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike knows the right techniques and routes towards improving the education sector of the state. From 2015, when he took over as governor of Rivers State, he has tactically approached the challenges in the Education Sector with a view to addressing the deep rot he inherited from the failed immediate past APC Administration in the State.
The WAEC Rankings for Rivers State since 2016 shows the improvement in the quality of investment in the Education sector. Ordinarily, the Rivers State Governor continues to work on the system quietly, without emphasising the sustained improvement achieved.
The fact for the sustained improvement is emphasised by this data: WAEC RANKING FOR 36 STATES INCLUDING ABUJA
The facts speak for themselves. In Rivers State, Governor Wike has prioritised education because it is the best legacy any Administration can leave for future generations.
With a high percentage of investment in basic and senior secondary education by the Wike Administration, Rivers State can only remain among the top states in WAEC Ranking.
Though opposition elements are unwilling to accept the reality of the strategic sustained growth in the education sector of Rivers State, the 2019 WAEC Ranking is a confirmation that the Wike Administration is on the right track.
Over the last four years, educational facilities in 23 Local Government Areas have been developed and equipped. More schools have been slated for reconstruction by the Rivers State Government. They will be equipped for functional learning. These schools are spread in all the 23 Local Government Areas of the State. By the time Governor Wike concludes his second term in 2023, over 1000 basic and senior secondary schools would have been reconstructed and equipped.
Beyond the reconstruction and equipping of schools, the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike has engaged in the training and retraining of teachers. The training and retraining programmes have been driven by the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board, the Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools Board and the Ministry of Education.
The Administration also subsidised the registration fees for Rivers State students undertaking the West African School Certificate Examination (WAEC) and the National Examination Council Examination (NECO) and sustained provision of science equipment, chemicals, materials and consumables to all secondary schools in the State for WASSCE and NECO examinations.
For the UTME Examinations, beginning 2020, the Rivers State Government will bear the cost for Indigenes and non-indigenes. The empowerment of the future generation through education is a deliberate policy of the Wike Administration. The results that are streaming in yearly, are planned for the good of Rivers State.
To expand the scope of quality Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Governor Wike inaugurated Committee for the Accreditation and Approval of Private Schools in Rivers State to embark on a comprehensive assessment of schools with the objective of enhancing the standard of education.
Inaugurating the committee , Governor Wike said that the basic and senior Secondary Education levels are important to the development of education.
He said: “I plead with you to be committed to delivering on this assignment because it is critical to the development of education in the state.
“I respect members of the committee and urge you not to allow anyone to offer bribes to you. How much can they give to you, that will convince you to mortgage the future of Rivers children?”
Governor Wike said the State Government is committed to ensuring that private schools are of approved standard , with the right facilities and qualified teachers.
The ultimate goal of Governor Wike’s investments in the education sector is to create a knowledge based society and develop an economy that is beyond the Petroleum Deposits of the state. From 2016 to 2019, the progress of Rivers State in WAEC shows that Governor Wike’s success is not a flash in the pan. It indicates that the future of Rivers States is secured. Rivers State is in safe hands.
It is true that the state is yet to get to the desired destination in the education sector. However, it is also more significant that the journey to the destination is on the right track. Governor Wike is effectively lifting the State to the desired position as he promised Rivers people since 2015.