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Friday, December 27, 2019


The recent statement; in the Nation Newspaper, credited to the Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Etim Etim Ukpong deriding the free education scheme in Akwa Ibom State is akin to being in a island state of utopia completely divorced from socio-economic realities. It appears to be a blatant attempt at stoking embers of discord when there is absolutely no reason to do so.

For avoidance of doubts, the current government of Akwa Ibom State inherited an educational system that was already on its knees begging for attention like in most other parts of Nigeria. From infrastructure, to personnel and even curriculum, strategic interventions were needed across board. Despite the not-too friendly state of our national economy, the state government continued doggedly to fund the free and compulsory basic education in public schools in addition to over N600 million spent annually on WAEC/NABTEB fees for indigenes in public secondary schools.

The Akwa Ibom State Government in an audacious bid to find the right fix for the educational sector in the state hosted the first ever Education Summit & Exhibition by any state in Nigeria which had as active participants all major stakeholders including the state Chairman of NUT. Subject-matter experts within the country were also brought into the mix.  It therefore calls to question the real intentions of Comrade Ukpong in castigating the state government so soon after, especially when he is aware that a committee saddled with the task of implementing decisions reached at the summit has been set up.

The Akwa Ibom State NUT Chairman cannot also claim to be oblivious of the positive strides the state government is taking towards revamping the educational sector. So far over 1,400 school blocks have been constructed  and  renovated; and over 20,630 dual-desks provided to public schools in the state. Additionally, 10 computer laboratories with internet facilities have been constructed in 10 secondary schools across the 10 federal constituencies while over 17 community secondary schools have also been taken over. The Akwa Ibom State Government has continued its periodic procurement & distribution of free text books & other educational materials and has also continued to pay Subventions to public primary & secondary schools despite lean resources. These interventions have seen a steady improvement in the performance of students of public schools in the state in national examinations and competitions. 

As further demonstration of  the commitment to ensuring that the education remains a front burner issue for the current administration, the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel approved the setting up of an education monitoring team under the direct supervision of the Governor’s office. The team has the day-day task of monitoring and reporting the state of affairs in schools across the state.  All these are in tandem with continued regular payment of salaries and pensions to workers in the state  including teachers. 

Despite the unfortunate tone of the NUT Chairman’s statement, the Akwa Ibom State Government remains undaunted in its march towards transforming the educational sector in the state

Charles Udoh KSJ
Hon. Commissioner
Ministry of Information

December 26, 2019

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