… Says the inauguration is a right step in the right direction.
By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
In line with the determination of the Acting Executive Chairman Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mr. Mathew Mnyam to sanitize and restore the lost glory of the Board and public primary schools in particular, SUBEB has inaugurated 8 – man State Steering Committee On Enrollment Drive Campaign.
Professor Dennis Ityavyar Benue State Commissioner for Education who was ably represented by the Director Special Education Mrs. Regina Nyitar performed the inauguration ceremony at the SUBEB Headquarters on Tuesday in Makurdi, described the inauguration as a right step in the right direction aimed at increasing access to basic education in the State.
The Commissioner further explained that the inauguration is premised on the emerging facts that enrollment into public primary and Junior Secondary Schools have dropped significantly in the last academic session.
He reminded members of the inaugurated committee that the numerous interventions in form of resources and facilities put in place by UBEC and the State Government for implementation of the UBE Programme should not be in vain.
The Commissioner charged the committee to mount a strategic enrollment and retention campaign that will specifically mobilize parents, community leaders and other stakeholders for concerted action that will enhance enrollment and completion of children in basic education institutions in Benue State.
“No one of you should treat this assignment with levity as all efforts to revive our schools rest squarely on the outcome of a successful enrollment drive campaign.” Ityavyar warned.
He pledged that the Government shall continue to ensure that you appropriate and conducive policy environment exist to accommodate out – of – school children into the normal School system as well as continue to support SUBEB and UBEC by putting in place the political will to address other challenges in the UBE sub – sector including the challenge of out -of – school children.
The composition of the committee according to the Commissioner, drew it membership across the various stakeholders in the UBE sub – sector as follows;
— Executive Chairman SUBEB, Hon. Mathew Mnyam as Chairman
— UBEC North Central Zonal Director, Dr. Ene Adikwu -Member
— UBEC Benue State Coordinator, Mrs.Augustina -Member
— Representative of Ministry of Education, Mr. Samuel Tsea- Member
— Education Secretary Gwer – West LGEA Mr. Gur Vitalis -Member
— Education Secretary Agatu LGEA Mr. Goodwin Ochenjele -Member
— Director Social Mobilization SUBEB, Mr. Adanu Eigege as Secretary and Desk Officer Enrollment Benue SUBEB,. Emmanuelle Akase – Assistant Secretary.
The Commissioner who disclosed the responsibility of the State Enrollment Drive Team to include; to get play a facilitative and advisory role towards enrollment drive policy implementation and its future development.
Other specific task of the team are; to engage in advocacy to top Government functionaries and community leaders for the implementation of an effective
Enrollment Drive Campaign, to monitor the Enrollment Drive Process in the State, to canvass for regular capacity development for all Enrollment Drive Campaign team members by the State and local authorities and to determine the local government area in the State to carryout agressive Enrollment Campaigns based on the given UBEC criteria.
Earlier, the Acting Executive Chairman of SUBEB Hon. Mathew Mnyam enumerated some of the factors responsible for the low enrollment of pupils in the State basic education to include; gross misconception and apathy of the public especially parents towards the UBE Programme, the continuous attack on public schools by insurgents and high wave of insecurity in some parts of the State have also played a role in hindering enrollment figures in Benue public schools.
“This situation has called for a drastic approach in tackling this menace. It is against this back – drop,in addition to Government determination to turn around basic education in the State that a meeting was held with the UBEC Zonal Director North Central zone to work out guidelines and modalities for a successful conduct of an enrollment drive campaign.
” The outcome of the meeting was the identification of stakeholders to be engaged in carrying out the enrollment drive campaign as well as the composition of the enrollment drive committee” Mnyam explained.
Mnyam further revealed some of his achievement recorded in the Board within a short period as he assumed Office as the acting Chairman of the Board to include; being able to initiate strategies aimed at sensitizing the pay roll of teachers, worked out strategy to eliminate ghost workers which according to the chairman is a syndrome if eliminated would pave way for improved welfare of teachers in the State.
On her part, the UBEC Director North Central Dr. Mrs. Ene Adikwu represented by the Benue UBEC Coordinator Mrs. Agustina Shachi described the exercise as a welcome development, said it was long over due as some Sttates have commenced the exercise.
She maintained that the UBEC Education Secretary is passionate about the enrollment drive campaign Programme.
She expressed worry over the high level of illiteracy in the country which the number of drop out-of – school children is of significant percentage.
“Out of over 2million Nigeria population,70 million people are illitrate”She stated.
The programme according to her is centered on bringing back to school children who were dropped out of school, the selection of Benue and Kwara States from the North Central as pilot Sttates and the selection of Agatu and Gwer – West local government areas as Pilot local governments is.a clear restoration of the lost glory of the public primary schools.
She further explained that selecting only two local government areas does not mean the programme will not reach the entire 23 local government areas in the State.
Mr. Dera Francis, a member of the Steering committee from the Ministry of Education who responded on behalf of the committee pledged their loyalty and commitment to SUBEB and promised to discharge their duties in accordance with the terms and references given to them.
He promised onbehalf of the members not to disappoint the Board rather work as a team and assiduously towards ensuring high Enrollment of pupils in public schools of the State.