The parlous physical condition of most public secondary schools in a country speaks loudly of many years of government neglect and non-prioritization of education.
This is as teaching facilities, curricular as well as quality of teachers have continued to slide downwards thereby posing serious concerns to students and genuine stakeholders in the education sector.
The activities of Boko Haram terrorists, herdsmen and bandits in the northern parts of Nigeria and their incursions into some states in the south have compounded the woes of the secondary school system.
Currently, the global coronavirus pandemic has severely worsened the dwindling output and the leftover morale of the system.
Some rogue principal officers and the noncommittal posture of government occasioned by yearly lip service payed to the system and as reflected in the yearly budgets have constantly kept the education sector, with particular reference to secondary schools in constant throes of paralysis.
But the above sad narrative is positively different in Akwa Ibom as the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has been unrelenting in his commitment towards making education a top priority.
For instance, the Akwa Ibom state government had organized the 1st ever Education Summit in September 2019 to address the systemic rot.
The essence of the Summit was aptly captured by Governor Udom Emmanuel ” we are not just doing one of these political gatherings. We are determined to change the structure, the content, and the output of our educational system in Akwa Ibom state”.
The summit birthed The Akwa Ibom Education Think Tank and the setting up of ten model secondary schools as one of its core roadmap.
The recent appointment therefore of five persons to the Akwa Ibom state Secondary Education Board under the chairmanship of Dr. Ekaete Ebong Okon and their subsequent monitoring exercise within two days of assumption of office signals their readiness to change the narrative.
Between Wednesday the 2nd and Tuesday the 8th of September, the board and the monitoring team traversed 15 secondary schools spanning the ten federal constituencies of the state.
In each of the schools, the board emphasized on the need for effective school management by the principals.
The board also carried out on the spot assessment of covid 19 compliance by teachers as well as students who were writing their senior secondary certificate examinations.
Assessment of classroom blocks and other facilities was also carried out and the board chairman had informed newsmen that recommendations from the findings shall be forwarded to government for necessary action.
The schools visited include west itam secondary school, Itu, community secondary school Ifiayong Usuk, Uruan, Uyo High school Uyo, secondary commercial school Nung Udoe, Ibesikpo Asutan.
Secondary school Asuna, Etinan, community secondary Ikot Akpan Ishiet, Onna, community grammar school Asong, Mkpat Enin.
Other schools were community secondary school Ikot Ebiere, Onna, community secondary school Afaha Eket, Eket. Community secondary school Ikot Afanga, Oruk Anam.
Government model secondary school Ikot Ekang, Abak, St. Vincent secondary school Oti – Oro, Okobo and Community secondary school Ikot Ayan – Ediene Ikono.
Credit: Sammy Charles