The Bayelsa Education Development Trust Fund, (BEDTF) says it is underwriting the cost of running boarding schools for 5,000 beneficiaries.
The fund, on Friday said its intervention in public schools in the state has uplifted the educational sector.
The Executive Secretary of the BEDTF, Dr Alice Atuwo stated this during a visit by the Publicity Committee of the Board to the office of the Federated Correspondent’s Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, in Yenagoa.
The Board according to Atuwo, is directly responsible for the feeding, running and maintenance of the eleven boarding schools located in the eight local government areas of the state.
The responsibility includes the payment of WAEC and NECO fees of students in the state model schools.
The Executive Secretary who was accompanied by the Chairman of the Publicity Committee of Board Chief Fidelis Agbikii, Secretary of the Committee, Seyeifa Koinyan, John Angese, and other members of the committee.
The Executive Secretary said the Board has also carried out various interventions at the state owned Niger Delta University, NDU, University of Africa, Toru-Orua, and the state Medical University, Yenagoa.
She also disclosed that the Board has also been involved in the training and re-training of teachers through the Teachers Training Registration and Certification Board.
She explained that 650 teachers have been trained already while another batch of training is expected to hold next year.
She said: “The general purpose of the Board is to contribute to the upgrading of education in the state, this is an interventionist agency in the educational sector and the first of its kind in a state.
“Taxes is the element of resources, every worker in the state and local government has contributed towards this board. The government also brings in an inflow of 5% from the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, then there is a 1% inflow from the capital payments from the government, and over the years we have reached out to philanthropic individuals, international donor agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs.
“At the time of our inauguration there were five existing public model schools but today we have eleven of them at least one in each of the every local government area including the Sports Academy and the Ijaw National Academy.
“The students (scholars) that we sponsor, it is the Ministry of Education that runs those schools with the Post Primary Schools Board, we do not implement any programme but we only sponsor as an interventionist agency. We provide for the running and maintenance of the model boarding schools in the state, an average of five thousand students and it is a monthly expenditure.
“The feeding and running of the schools and maintenance of the model schools takes about 80% of our income but the law does not limit us only to the model secondary schools, it’s for education, that is from primary to tertiary, so we also have intervention in tertiary institutions.
“At the tertiary education NDU is benefiting from us in the area of ICT, at the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, we sponsor research and training, we have a Computer Based Testing Centre, CBTC, for UTME, and we also contributed to the take-off of the Bayelsa Medical University, BMU, by intervening in the accreditation of courses, and we have also related with the Teachers Training Registration and Certification were we trained 650 teachers during our first tenure and another training is expected to hold next year.”
The Chairman of the Publicity Committee of the Board, High Chief Agbiki, said the visit is to open a new vista of relationship with the media in a profitable manner for the board.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Federated Correspondent’s Chapel, Mr. Chris Eze, who commended the Education Development Trust Fund for the visit.
Eze said the visit has given Journalists insight into the activities of the Board, and called for more collaboration and synergy with journalists in the state.