Ebonyi inaugurates committee to revamp education sector
The Ebonyi State Executive Council on Thursday moved to rescue the state’s education sector by setting up and inaugurating a committee to prepare a working plan for making the learning convenient for students in the state.
The decision followed the presentation of a preliminary report on the state of public schools in the state by a consultant hired by the State’s Universal Basic Education Board to the EXCO at the Government House in Abakaliki.
The committee headed by the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious and Welfare Matters, Rev. Father Abraham Nwali, is expected to submit its preliminary report on September 15 and final report on October 15.
Among its terms of reference are:
· Implementation of teacher –student ratio of 35 to 40 in near compliance with UNICEF standard;
· Conduct of examinations for all teachers in the state’s public schools;
· Return of some schools to missions;
· Preparation of a practicable three-year rolling plan for the education sector. Part of the plan is to ensure that every pupil has a seat in his school;
· Introduction of sports as a core component of school curricula;
· Introduction of school farms;
· Designation of some schools as Science, Arts and Science/Arts schools;
· Develop a model for effective supervision of schools in the state;
· Develop strategies for interventionary measures in the public schools every year;
· Develop a system whereby the performance of students would be tied to that of their teachers
· Develop a model of schools to be built in each of the 13 local government areas of the state to serve as a benchmark for what all public schools should be in a no distant future.
While inaugurating the committee which membership comprises the main stakeholders in the education sector, Governor Umahi said; what is happening today is the basis for the take-off of our state,
“If these assignments are done well, we will know where we are going. I want you as members of the committee to know that you are about to midwife a new era not just in our education sector but in our development as a state.”
Engr. Umahi had before inaugurating the committee said he was concerned more about the state of schools, the health sector in the state and the number of teachers in public schools than just paying salaries of people working in the schools.
Describing the interim report as an eye opener, the governor directed the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, to carry out a similar survey on both primary and secondary health institutions in the state.
Earlier, the EXCO directed that nine teachers who were captured in pictures taken in two schools the survey consultants should appear before it on Wednesday with their writing materials.
During the meeting, EXCO also considered a memo for the establishment of Ebonyi State Investment Promotion Council to among other things, encourage, promote and coordinate investments in the state.
It consequently asked the Attorney General of Justice and Commissioner for Justice, Augustine Nwankwegu and all lawyers who are members of the council to produce a bill on the issue for presentation to the state House of Assembly.
Ebonyi, German firm plan Salt Lake City
The Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, has directed the Ministry of Land to engage the German Environmental Sanitation Development Company in further discussions on modalities for the establishment of a new city to be known as Salt Lake City and the development of a land belonging to the state government in Abuja.
Governor Umahi gave the directive when he granted audience to a team of management experts from the GES GMBH Development Company of Germany led by Mr. Adolf Wolfgang at Government House, Abakaliki on Monday.
The governor noted that the state did not have the resources to partner the company on their proposed medical city project and charged the Ministry of Lands to liaise with the company to come up with the feasibility studies, the costing, designs and all the approvals needed for the Salt Lake City. He stated that the government was ready to pay the 25 percent equity contribution for the development of a proposed Salt Lake Complex in Abuja.
In his remark, the spokesperson for the GES GMBH Development Company of Germany, Mr. Chuks Ajunwa, said that the team was in the state to solicit the support and partnership of the state government for the establishment of a Medical City Project, the Salt Lake Complex and a new city to be known as Salt Lake City.
EBONYI GOVERNMENT TRAIN FARMERS ON MECHANIZED AGRICULTURE
As part of its effort to revolutionize agriculture, farmers in Ebonyi State, would soon be trained on the use of modern mechanized agricultural equipment.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Barr. Uchenna Orji, who stated this at a joint press conference with his Information and state Orientation counter, Dr. Emmanuel Onwe, in Abakaliki, said the government had engaged the services of some “expatriates to train the farmers on the use of the mechanized agricultural equipment procured by the government.”
Orji said that five hectres of land had been acquired and cleared at the permanent site of the state University for the exercise, adding that registered farmers and farmers’ cooperative societies would benefit from the training.
The agriculture commissioner also said that “parboiling machines would soon be installed at the three modern rice mills owned by state government to get them fully utilized.”
He announced the readiness of the government to enhance the ecstatic beauty of Abakaliki to make it a standard state capital to reckon, saying that the Executive Council had directed the State Ministry of Environment to ensure that illegal structures were removed.
The ministry is also to plant ornamental trees by the streets.
The state Commissioner for Information, Dr. Emmanuel Onwe, who spoke first, restated the commitment of the council to the urban renewal programme of the state government.
Dr. Onwe added that the council approved N100m to enable the State Ministry of Power to continue with the ongoing urban street light project. He hinted that it was the decision of the council that the street light project be handled systematically with the ongoing rehabilitation of 200 kilometres of urban street roads by the state Ministry of Works.
This idea, according to him, would “ensure that each road reconstructed will be accompanied with street light, water and environmental sanitation facilities.”
The Commissioner similarly announced that the council approved the sum of N60m for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Meat Market abattoir and the provision of a cold room.
He however directed on behalf of the council, that traders staying on the road to transact their businesses at the meat market and around abakpa marker should relocate to a better place.
The Information boss who said that council received report on the international market and agreed to hasten up the completion of the stalls to enable traders move in soonest, disclosed that the council directed the State Head of Service, Dr. Chamberlin Nwele to suspend for three months without pay, the three Zonal Accountants of the Secondary Education Board for failing to prepare vouchers for the payment of June salaries of Secondary school teachers as directed by the government.
Dr. Onwe informed the press that the council received report on the purchase of vehicles for council members but decided to step it down for now, as a result of the poor financial status of the state.
EBONYI TO PARTNER UNFPA on child mortality, others
The Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, has expressed the readiness of his administration to key into the programmes of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to enhance the well-being of women and children in the state.
Governor Umahi disclosed this when the Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Nigeria, Mrs. Ratidzai Ndhlovu paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Abakaliki on Monday. He appreciated the enormous benefits the state had derived from the programmes of the agency and reiterated the determination of his administration to tackle issues militating against maternal and child health care delivery.
The governor, who stressed his resolve “to ensure that no woman dies during child birth under his watch”, regretted the volume of fake and adulterated drugs in circulation across the country and appealed to the agency to continue to supply genuine drugs to the state.
He observed the importance of power to primary healthcare delivery and called on the agency to include the provision of electricity in its core mandate to assist in the preservation of drugs and the conduct of laboratory tests required for the treatment of diseases.
Governor Umahi, who hinted that it was the importance ‘his administration attaches to primary healthcare that prompted the appointment of three special assistants on Primary Health for each of three senatorial districts in the state. Thus, according to him is “to have closer touch with the people to ascertain their health and social needs and report back to government for prompt attention”.
Earlier in her remark, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund, Ndhlovu had said she was in the state to renew the agency’s commitment to strengthen its partnership with the state on top priority areas of maternal health, family planning, institutional delivery, fistula care, etc.
She emphasized “that the agency’s vision was to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth safe and a world where the potential of every young person is fulfilled”. The UNFPA chief added that in the agency’s present programme circle which started in 2014, “women issues are our core mandate, girls issue are our core mandate, and young boys issue are our core mandate to ensure women don’t die while giving birth”.
Mrs. Ndhlovu called on the state government to key into the UNFPA Government Cash Counterpart contribution towards the programme development aimed at uplifting the state.
UNICEF to train teachers in Ebonyi state.
Ebonyi state government has pledged to partner UNICEF in the training of teachers to ensure quality education in the state.
Governor Dave Umahi, made this known in Abakaliki when he received in audience, the country representative of UNICEF, Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms.Jean Gough, on Monday.
Governor Umahi, who restated that his administration had put every machinery in motion to hand over some schools to missionaries, said he remained committed to the provision of quality education and primary health care services to the people.
Thanking UNICEF for offering to train teachers in the state, the governor described the offer as a welcome development in view of the fact that some teachers lack focus in their calling.
He said, “We are going to collaborate and see how we first of all do a seminar for our teachers. They should understand their bearing. You know a lot of them were just employed without a focus. No idea of what to do. No passion for the job; so we want to tune for the passion for the job and see if we can get right the pathway for our educational system”
“We told you our passion apart from infrastructure to hand over some schools to missionaries which you were very excited, in fact, you said we should understudy Anambra State that they did that and in all their external exams, they come first in the South- East”.
Governor Umahi identified ‘power as the major hindrance to primary health system and called on UNICEF to assist by providing solar lights to all primary health centers in the state.
In her remarks Gough thanked the Ebonyi State government for being part of the success story in the certification of Nigeria as a polio free country, come 2017,by the WHO and the containment of Ebola epidemic which the former minister of health that tackled the problem was from Ebonyi State.
She described such developments as good for Africa.
Gough said her mission was to collaborate with Ebonyi State in the area of primary health care which she described as the corner stone of every population, stressing that 70 percent of the diseases are related to primary health.
Other areas UNICEF wants to collaborate with Ebonyi state, according to Gough, include, education, protection of children against obnoxious practices, like, female genital mutilation.
UMAHI to appoint caretaker committees for LGAs, development centres soon
The Ebonyi State Government will soon appoint Caretaker Committees to run the Local Government Areas and development centres in the state.
The Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, who announced this during a media chat in Abakaliki on Friday, said the appointment had become necessary as “we have realized that we cannot start local government elections immediately.”
Umahi added that “the State House of Assembly had amended the law on Local Governments to enable us appoint caretaker committee chairmen; and had assented to our request to expand the management committees so that representation would be wider.”
He explained that stakeholders had been directed to go back and meet in their various constituencies to harmonise their choice for appointments as management committee members, Development council Coordinators and ward liaison officers.
The governor, who lamented the continued fall in the prices of crude oil and its negative effect on the allocations to the state, regretted that while the revenue accruing to the state was seriously declining, its debt profile was on the increase due to the high cost of projects he inherited from the past administration.
He however noted that the State Ministry of Works had invited contractors handling on- going projects to come for a joint measurement of work done to ascertain the actual value of the state indebtedness to them.
Governor Umahi also reiterated his administration’s to stamp out corruption from all the sectors of the state and urged all former political office holders indicted by the State House of Assembly, to quickly return to government all the amount allegedly stolen by them.
Stressing that his administration would not leave any stone unturned in its fight against corruption in the state, Chief
Umahi frowned at the rot in the education sector in the state.
He noted with dismay, the dilapidated state of schools in the state, saying that a study conducted by a consultant hired by the government had shown that pupils still sit on the floor to learn in some schools.
He added that in some other schools, classes still hold in dilapidated class room blocks and under the trees.
He disclosed that the government would embark on the establishment of “13 mega schools”, one in each of the 13 LGAs of the state, as a way of improving the standard of education as soon as it accessed the Universal Basic Education Intervention Fund for the state.
Other intervention measures to be adopted in revamping education in the state, according to Governor Umahi, included, the handing over of the mission schools back to their original owners, with the government still paying their teachers and the missions taking care of administration.
The governor opined that the government would as from next week embark on the proper evaluation of the health system with special emphasis on the Primary Health Care Centres to reduce pressure on secondary and tertiary health institution.
He said that the government would equip 171 Primary Health Centres as part of its intervention measures in the health sector, and directed the State Commissioner for Health “to do the evaluation of the 13 general hospitals to see if we can complete at least six, two in each zone.”