Parents whose wards are pupils of the Family Support Nursery/Primary school along parliamentary road in Calabar municipality recently staged a peaceful protest calling for the resignation of the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Edak Iwuchukwu, over the neglect of the school by the ministry.
Their protest was based on allegation of embezzlement of funds, lack of infrastructural development, increase in school fees and complete poor management.
They also accused the Commissioner of introducing several levies ranging from N500 development fee, N500 examination fee, N1000 sports equipment, N500 sanitation and N500 for damages without consulting the Parents’ Teachers Association (PTA).
However, they said, “having paid all these levies, the money was not used for any of the services mentioned above while children who were to leave the school were denied graduation at the end of their school year. This is the first time we parents are experiencing this in this school. The former commissioner was not like this.”They accused the Commissioner also of plotting to sale off the school to herself against the dream of the founding fathers.
Parents numbering over 200 said they were protesting when the school Headmaster refused our wards their terminal results and an end of term get together which had been paid for since the first term.
However, following their protest, the commissioner invited the Headmaster and released funds the next day for the ceremony but most angry parents still said they were not satisfied with the management of the school.
Established since 1996, the school is said to be the brain child of the late Marian Babangida with the intention to support poor parents who are unable to send their children to school.
With a population of over 1000 then, the enrolment has reduced to a mere 300 as of today with teachers being owned arrears of salaries.
In an interview with a parent, Mr. Okon E. Okon with three of his kids in the school said “development in the school during the tenure of the present commissioner the school has been killed and buried. He said for three terms running, no results have been released by the school to parents.”
Another parent, Mr. Sunday Joshua also with three kids said that “parents were ready to withdraw their wards if the situation continues to deteriorate. He said the school has continued to witness large exodus of children because of poor facilities and management of the school. It is better off some years back which attracted us to bring our wards here.”
Earlier, the School headmaster, Mr. Emmanuel Agom in his reaction, said “all fees and levies meant for the school were paid into the banks and I only get money when approval comes from the Ministry.”
According to him, “I am still expecting the release of funds to organise an end of year party and send off for pupils in the school and whenever approval comes I will call parents and pupils for the function.”
In her reaction, the Commissioner, Mrs. Iwuchukwu, told Dossier that one third of pupils in the school owed school fees and it was not therefore possible to meet all the demands of the school/parents.
While apologising to parents, she promised that come September 2013, new structures will be erected in the school along with other amenities to decongest classrooms and bring in other facilities.
She said the call for her to resign was ill conceived as running of the activities in the school were handled by a constituted management and that was only one small unit of her schedule of duty, adding that “I was not appointed to come and run a school.”
The commissioner said further that with a monthly imprest of N60, 000 for the headmaster to handle sanitation matter and wondered why parents should complain. She advised parents to note that the school should be seen as a revenue earner for government and not a philanthropic institution.
She advised them to take away their wards to other schools if they do not feel satisfied with the handling of the day to day activities in the school.
She said that she had directed the school headmaster to publish the names of all children who owed school fees so as to refuse them further participation.
Some of the teachers interviewed told the Dossier that they were still on casual appointment and their salaries not at par with others in government circle as the school is run by the Ministry of women affairs.
This ugly development, it was gathered has not encouraged them adding that “prompt payment of our wages as at when due will go a long way to return the school back to its lost glory.”
Centre Wants Govts To Update School Curriculum
The Centre for Distance Learning, Modibbo Adama University, Yola, has urged governments at all levels to update school curriculum in tune, with the realities of the new normal.
A Deputy Director in the University, Dr Abdullahi Bashir, made the call at the National Teachers Conference organised by Maltina Teacher of the year, on Friday, in Yola, with the theme: ”Classroom Without Border; The New Normal.”
Bashir said that the current school curriculum needed to be revisited in the light of current developments in the education sector caused by technology and current global realities.
He said this would help to improve the standard of education in the country and enable students compete with their peers around the world.
Bashir also stated the need for governments to look into teachers’ welfare with a view to align their remuneration with doctors, engineers and other professions.
In her remarks, Adamawa Commissioner for Education,Mrs Wilbina Jackson, appreciated the efforts of the organizsers for their contributions to education development in the country.
Jackson, who was represented by Executive Secretary, Post Primary Education Management Board,Mrs Maryam Abubakar, charged teachers to impact positively on the life of their students to succeed in future.
According to her, the world is moving towards technology, hence the need to encourage students to embrace it in order to succeed.
Mrs Christable Malachia, who spoke on behalf of the participants, said the conference was timely, as they had learnt a lot, having been exposed to how to relate well with the students, parents and other staff, as well as how to be good mentors.
Admission: College Begs JAMB For Waiver On Technical Courses
The Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka Lagos, has requested the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), to grant it a waiver in technical courses.
The Provost of the institution, Dr. Wahab Azeez, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Saturday in Lagos said that such waiver would attract more prospective students to the college.
Azeez was speaking against the backdrop of the poor enrolment of students in the college.
He explained that the idea was to create openings to attract school certificate holders to the college and build a career in technical education.
“Enrollment has not been encouraging and we are not silent on it.
“So, what we did was to approach JAMB to give us a wave in certain technical and vocational courses.
“We are hopeful that our request will get positive response from JAMB and it will throw opportunity for more students to register for technical or vocational courses in our college.
“Technical and vocational education is where the money is.
“Students who finish from the college may not necessarily look for a paid job because of the training they have acquired,’’ he expressed.
According to him, part of efforts to project the image of the college, was to reach out to the ministry of education with the purpose of having direct access to technical Secondary Schools.
Azeez explains that the college teaches related vocational subjects, which serve as foundation for students, who may want to settle in the field.
“Five technical schools are here in Lagos, including our FCE, Technical, which prompted our visit to the Lagos Commissioner for Education.
“The focus is more on technical teaching, where our seasoned lecturers take them through oral, practical rudiments of vocational education and inculcate in them, self reliance,’’ he said.
Azeez said that infrastructural developments, researches, academics, welfare, administration and social activities would continue to be prioritised, in order to make the learning environment conducive for students and staff.
According to him, construction of buildings for lectures, programmes and staffroom are ongoing, as part of measures to upgrade and bring the institution to an amiable state.
He said that under his administration, the science complex was being constructed and would be equipped with modern laboratory materials for the teaching of sciences and computer studies.
“Also, part of the ongoing constructions in the college is a technical workshop.’’
The management has equally taken steps to address issues of security water projects, he added.
The provost expressed optimism that the ongoing amendment bill on the Act that established the college, now at the National Assembly, would lead to the upgrade of the institution to a Federal University of Technical Education.
CEAPoly: Governing Council Chairman Lauds Members, Rector On Commitment
The Governing Council of the Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic (CEAPOLY) has been described as one of the best in the comity of governing councils in the various institutions Rivers State.
Chairman of the council, Senator Lee Maeba, stated this during at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the two storey governing council building complex at the insititution in PortHarcourt, recently.
Maeba, who noted that the governing council of the institution was committed to the progress of the institution, said it remained unwavered even in the faces of the challenge of a building for members’ meetings and deliberations.
Describing the members of the council as steadfast and lovers of the institution, Maeba expressed joy over the cordial relationship that existed among members, maintaining that their zeal and forthrightness would take the polytechnic to greater heights.
He said, “This governing council is one of the best governing councils in the schools in the state. I want to thank members of the council for their forthrightness and love for the school. These are members who spend their money to come to school on private visit to see to the welfare of the school. There is no friction between governing council and members and our meetings have always ended cordially. I am happy to be associated with these cream of members”.
While assuring that the polytechnic would witness flagoff of other constructions on campus, Maeba averred that the destruction of the former governing council building by the wildwind was a deliberate act to bring about a modern and beffiting complex in the institution.
“This auditorium was blown off by wildwind sometimes in May 2018. The sole purpose of the wind was to blow off a building that was no longer befitting for the school and the aim of the wind is actualised today”, he said.
The CEAPOLY governing council chairman further lauded the Rector of the institution, Dr Samuel B Kalagbor for his dedication towards the growth of the institution.
In his words”the Rector is committed as he wants to move the school forward. We have passed a vote of confidence on him twice. First as a provost and then seeing his dedication, it was on us to convert his duty as a provost to a rector and that was done seamlessly because he deserves it.
By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu
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