As part of its oversight functions, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Education led by the Chairman and Member representing Ibiono State Constituency, Rt Hon. Godwin Ekpo, on Monday, February 24, paid a familiarisation visit to the Ministry of Education.
In setting the tone for the visit, the Education Boss, Prof Nse Essien welcomed the committee to the Ministry and lauded them for their commitment to the Education sector of the State.
He painstakingly took the members through the ministerial responsibilities of the Ministry, the different directorates of the Ministry, revenue profile of the Ministry as at December 31st 2019 and the list of activities done since the beginning of year 2020.
Also Read: UYOCCIMA Set for AGM, Tuesday 25
In his remarks, the committee Chairman, Rt Hon. Ekpo commended the Commissioner for being on ground to receive them and lauded him for his proactiveness and work ethic.
He stated that the 7th Assembly is determined to do what is right by sticking to the terms of reference of the house. The Committee, he said, was empowered by the standing orders of the House to carry out oversight in the ministry and every parastatal connected with Education in the State.
The members of the Committee took turns to ask questions, make enquiries and also give pieces of advice.
Issues raised where centered around the implementation of recommendations of the Education Summit, state of infrastructure in public schools especially laboratories and libraries, scholarships and grants, student to teachers ratio in public schools, adherence to the closure of illegal schools directive, the status of some public schools in the state and the Ministry’s plans to curb the spate of indiscipline and gross misconduct of students in public schools and Teachers training/retraining and human capacity development.
The Commissioner who lauded the committee for their timely pieces of advice, responded that government was serious about ending illegal schools in the State and will commence the process of clampdown on those found to have reopened schools without approval.
On the issue of students reading culture, the Commissioner intimated that the ministry would be floating an e-learning platform which will jump start the process of providing reading materials for students and teachers while the physical libraries are being worked on.
Government he said, had provided 10 well-furnished computer centers cross the 10 federal constituencies of the State to carter for the computer-based needs of the State with more of such centers in the offing.
When quizzed on the recent closure of Ewet Technical School, Essien traced the problem to gross indiscipline stating that the essence was to restore sanity while investigations are ongoing to assess the remote and immediate causes of the problem.
He lamented the vandalization of government property in some public schools, stating that a template was being developed by the Ministry to establish a better working relationship with SUBEB where their activities will be closely monitored.
Prof Essien in his response to enquiries on grants/scholarships and the operational status of some public schools in the State disclosed that Union Secondary School, Ibiaku will be fully taken over by Government in no time, adding that the process of handing over was almost completed.
Last payment of law grants he said, was for April 2019/2020 batch and that the Ministry applies for funds as it receives the list of law school bound students from the Council for legal Education.
The Committee members commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for his effort in promoting Education in the State and called on Government to do more considering the growing influx of students into public schools yearly.
In her vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Helen Ante expressed the delight of the Ministry to receive the team. She lauded them for their passion for Education which she noted has gone a long way in helping the ministry achieve it set objectives and assured them that the Ministry is poised to do more and change the tide of Education in the State.
Other Members of the Education Committee who embarked on the familiarisation visit included: Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh, Rt.Hon. Effiong Bassey, Hon. Barr. Victor Ekwere, Hon. Charity Ido, Hon Otobong Bob, Hon. Kufre Edidem and Directors in the Education Ministry.