The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki is blazing the trail in the education sector with the formulation of an education policy to sustain the impactful and transformative changes recorded by his administration in the sector over the past five years.
With the new policy, Edo has now operationalized the disarticulation of the junior and senior secondary schools in the state after 20 years the system was recommended for implementation across the country.
The new policy, if diligently implemented, will bring sanity and improvement in teaching and learning outcomes, ensure better monitoring of the quality of instruction, improvements in physical facilities in schools, and healthy competition among education managers and stakeholders.
The newly developed education policy is an improvement of the deficiencies and limitations of the 2013 National Education Policy and the reviewed 2018 Education Policy.
According to the Edo State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Osa-Oviawe, the new policy will span all tiers of education from early childhood to tertiary education, ensuring the nurturing and development of an all-round child who is well prepared to compete with their peers globally.
The formulation of the new policy, experts say, is linked to the need to sustain the success recorded in the state’s basic education sub-sector through the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme, which has drastically improved learning outcomes in primary schools across the state, impacting over 200,000 pupils, who now learn three times more than they used to learn in a school term.
Dr. Oviawe, while speaking at a workshop for stakeholders in Benin City to formulate the state’s new education policy and accelerate the process of disarticulation of junior and senior secondary schools, said Edo will now revert to basic, lower basic and upper basic secondary school system.
The disarticulation is expected to commence from Idogbo Secondary School, in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, which was indefinitely shut down by the state government following unrest by students in the school. The disarticulation of junior schools from senior schools will commence from the next academic year and will also be operationalized across private schools in the state. The Commissioner said, “the next academic year (September 2022), the state will no longer have junior secondary schools but will revert to basic, lower basic, upper basic and secondary schools.
“As a state, we want to have an education policy that will span all tiers of education, from early childhood to tertiary education,” she added.
As part of the policy and in an effort to upgrade tertiary institutions in the state into world-class institutions of learning, the state also introduced a multi-campus system to the schools, commenced the prosecution of parents and guardians of out-of-school children, and trained 2,000 new teachers on Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills, digital pedagogy, among other reforms to place education on a high pedestal in the state.
According to Obaseki, the state-owned Ambrose Alli University will now operate a tripartite campus with the two new campuses to be located in Oredo local council and Owan Federal Constituency and will focus on Technology and Engineering Studies as well as Agriculture and Natural Resources respectively.
Also, the Edo College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, is to be upgraded into a degree-awarding institution with two additional campuses in Agenebode and Uromi.
The commencement of the prosecution of parents and guardians of out-of-school children, according to the governor, is part of measures to take all children off the streets and improve access to education.
Obaseki, while making the announcement, said the government will, as part of the new policy, sustain efforts at ensuring that all children in the state have access to quality education.
He noted, “Every child in Edo must be in school. Hence, we will not accept that children are on the streets during school hours. Going forward, any child found begging on the streets of Edo will be taken to one of our rehabilitation centres. We are collating the data of out-of-school children and their locations. We are working with the Department of State Services (DSS) in this regard.”
“I am using this opportunity to let parents and guardians know that, as part of our policy, if we find any child out of school, the parents or guardian will be arrested and prosecuted,” he added.
The government also organized a 10-day Information Communication Technology (ICT) training for over 2,000 new junior secondary school teachers in the state to equip them with the requisite skills, competence and tools to improve learning outcomes and grow a new generation of students that can compete with their peers globally.
The new 2,000 teachers, according to Dr. Oviawe, were recruited and trained on technology, innovative teaching and learning techniques in primary and junior secondary schools, as part of ongoing reforms in the education sector.
Declaring the training open, Governor Obaseki described education as fundamental to the growth and development of any society, noting “No society develops without education and the most important element in any educational system is the teachers. That is why in Edo, we will not joke with the teachers.”
He added, “You are very important to us. I will go to any length to look for the resources to train you because you are the ones that are going to train our children. As you receive this training, note that this is not the end. You are going back to your classrooms and will help us to change the mindset of our children.
“Beyond their academic training, you must now help us begin to train our children on how to live in a society and how to live for the future. I assure you, as long as you are doing your work well, as long as you are making sure you deliver value, nothing will happen to you.”