Education in Akwa Ibom is still free and compulsory at basic level. Despite the severe loss in revenue, resulting in drastic cuts in Government spending; the Government of Mr Udom Emmanuel spends over 600 million naira paying for WAEC fees yearly.
During the ongoing Open Governance Tour, on Day4, earlier Tuesday, journalists and other media practitioners, led by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, were able to witness first hand the progress being recorded in the Education sector in the state.
The entourage, which included other aides of the Governor, went to three secondary schools in the three senatorial districts of the state: Cornelia Connelly College (CCC) Uyo; Government Secondary School, Afaha Uqua, Eket and State College, Ikot Ekpene.
Nigeria is officially and practically in a season of vastly inclusive economic failure. Elsewhere in the country, parents find it hard to pay school fees, buy study materials, pay exam fees and all such. Not in Akwa Ibom. Here, the number of students attending public schools has not dropped; the number entering for regional school leaving exams (WAEC) has not dropped; everywhere the tour went, the students had praise and more praise for Governor Emmanuel.
Not only are their fees being paid; the Government is also encouraging greater inclusion of ICT in running the schools. At CCC, for instance, the Government set up an additional Computer laboratory, equipped with 20 computer sets.
At Government School, Eket, students have since learnt to design impressive projects as demonstrated on the tour. The principal hinted also that they have begun to pass new intakes through Computer Based Tests, a first time for public schools in these parts of the country.
At State college, students interviewed all exhibited bold and intelligent presentation qualities in interacting with the visitors. They were all sound and confident, whether the ones found in the computer lab or in classes, and the prefects. An overwhelming experience was watching their entire population of over 4000 of them, on the assembly grounds, recite the Dakkada creed as they came out to greet the Commissioner at close of school.
Priority is given to education in Akwa Ibom, as explained by Mr Charles Udoh.
“Nobody knows tomorrow. One of you here may become the Governor of Akwa Ibom, or the President of Nigeria. That is why Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing what he is doing for you. Your part is to study hard and give us a 100% pass rate”, the Commissioner said, as he addressed the students, also assuring that the Government will keep upgrading school facilities, paying fees, insisting on compulsory education, and investing in quality education in Akwa Ibom State.
By Uduak Umo
Uduak Umo is a PR professional and public interest researcher.