The government of Abia State has pleaded with the various oil companies in the area to start investing in education.
Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu stated this, Tuesday, at the Abia Education Summit 2018, tagged: ‘Reforming the Education Sector for the 21st Century, stressing that an improved educational standard does not only saddle on the shoulders of the government but also individuals, companies and all corporate bodies should come together to ensure that success is achieved in the educational sector.
Dr. Ikpeazu who spoke with a touch of pain, lamented the fall of oil in the country in general, and pointed out that education should be upheld as that could be the only area the state could fall back to for support in times of crisis.
He said: “All these oil companies should begin to invest in education. Since oil prices are going down what else is going to give us the bulk income the bulk result that people can foresee and begin the funding of education the way it should be and it’s everybody’s business and not the business of the government alone. So, this is just one dimension, funding must improve. Apart from funding improving, people, corporate bodies, companies must learn fund education. You don’t seek grass for research from rich companies, rich individuals, from universities. We don’t see the things we need to carry out research on those areas that concern us. We still depend on the research of the America to solve our problems of malaria whereas malaria is not the problem of the Americans and it cannot make it a priority”.
He stressed the need to change the intellectual quotient of teachers, as he expressed acrimony the deplorable situations teachers have been inevitably thrown into, ranging from poor inauguration, poor salaries, poor welfare, etc.
He further insisted that self-development is imperative to the teacher, adding “that’s why primary school teachers in Abia have been exposed to six- streams of teachers from Australia. October 18, last year, they graduated 700 teachers here that are now ICT compliant”, he said.
Governor Ikpeazu highlighted that the objectives of the programme was to enable teachers in the state see themselves as being indistinguishable Fr teachers their sister countries hence overcoming inferiority complex among teachers.
“We want the teachers to know that it’s the same blood and water that run in the brain of the teachers from Australia and it’s still one head. So, by exposing our teachers to these Australian teachers, we want them to know that a teacher is a teacher and that it is a job you can do with pride. we want to see if we can do something about the confidence level of our teachers”, he said.
In his keynote address, the Commissioner for Education , Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji recounted on the various feats the administration has achieved in the educational sector, ranging from provision of physical infrastructure, improved learning/ teaching environments, for every Abia child, training and re-training teachers with the support of government and re-orienting the people on Education -for-Employment, (E4E), and a lot other accomplishments.
Prof. Mgbeoji explained that the maiden summit bothered on articulating the various challenges and gaps in the Abia State Education Sub-sector, proffering realisable solutions to them and at the same time collectively re-strategise in order to achieve set goals, vis-a-vis the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to comply with the UNESCO education 2030 Agenda.
He outlined some of the challenges the educational sector of the state, which include lack of coherent and holistic education law, and Education Sectoral and Development plan or Road Map, adding “our various pieces of legislation are in piece-meal”, he said, but however, expressed gratitude to the governor for approving a total sum of N5m for the development of the latter.