As part of efforts to curb rising crimes and criminalities in the society, the General Overseer of Omega Power Ministry (OPM), Apostle Chinyere Gift Chibuzor, has flagged off the 13th free education school with a charge on pupils admitted to benefit from the scheme to take full advantage of the opportunity to chart a meaningful path towards contributing the sustainable development of the country.
While commissioning the facility, completed at a cost of N100million, and located at Agip by Ada-George Road, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, last Wednesday, Chinyere also challenged other religious bodies and Nigerian leaders to set the right priorities on education to help give quality direction to young generation of Nigerians.
He emphasised that low amount set aside for education in government annual budgets across the board was responsible for many years of youth restiveness, massive unemployment, and all manner of criminal activities in the country.
Chinyere, therefore, urged leaders in all sectors, especially politicians to gradually reduce the huge allocation to security votes, adding that when the young ones are given sound education, peace would prevail and security infractions would drop significantly and development would spiral.
He challenged Nigerian leaders to unequivocally give desired attention to upgrading investments in education infrastructure and human capital development, adding that once the population of educated youths rise to a reasonable level, issues such as insecurity and youth restiveness would become history.
Chinyere called on religious leaders to increase their focus on soul winning and spreading the gospel, stressing that the more souls are saved, the more the society becomes a better place for all to live in.
He used the opportunity to direct the OPM Welfare Director, Mrs Maureen Chukwu, to make available a donation of N.5million to a Gabonese woman, who has been squatting in a make-shift apartment with her four children, saying that the money should enable her start a business, just as the church also gave her accommodation at the OPM Free Estate.
The Tide reports that the OPM Free Schools are populated with some of the best graduate teachers while students are provided with free uniforms, sandals, text books notebooks, and writing materials such as pencils and pens.
Education: UNICEF Raises Fresh Concern Over Learning Crisis In Nigeria
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised a fresh concern over the learning crisis Nigeria is currently grappling with, urging stakeholders, particularly the government at all levels to, as a matter of priority, take stronger actions and commitments towards addressing the challenge.
The global agency noted that the crisis, particularly at the basic education level is stalling meaningful development in the country and globally by extension.
The Education Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Yetunde Oluwatosin, raised the concern at a two-day media dialogue organised by UNICEF Nigeria in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, Lagos State, and the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board, recently.
The workshop with newsmen from print, broadcast and online media from the South-West region as participants, has “Turning the Tide on Nigeria’s Learning Crisis” as its theme.
Making a presentation and quoting from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), Oluwatosin disclosed that 73 per cent of Nigeria’s children, aged 10 years below, with the majority in the North and from the poorest families and in rural communities, were struggling to read or comprehend simple text, while an alarming nine out of every 10 children (90%) in sub-Saharan Africa generally were also confronting with learning difficulty.
She also noted that while only one out of 14 children between ages seven and 14 years could demonstrate fundamental skills, only 25 per cent have numeracy skills capable of solving simple mathematical problems.
Oluwatosin equally pointed out that although up to 73 per cent of Nigeria’s youths were literate, only seven per cent possessed the necessary ICT skills required for the digital economy while just eight per cent of children from the poorest families attend school compared to 78 per cent of their peers from the richest homes.
She said all these conditions, among others, are widening the inequality gaps between the children from the poorest homes and those from the richest families and also between those living in urban and rural communities.
She therefore recommended that the trend would need to be reversed otherwise it would be difficult to lift many children and young adults in the country out of extreme poverty and also out of criminal activities.
She, however, attributed the crises to a number of factors including limited infrastructure, inadequate funding, gender parity, shortage of qualified teachers, poor delivery system, and insufficient learning data and materials, among others.
She emphasised UNICEF’s efforts in filling the gap in a way it can including provision of learning materials for over 1.8 million children between 2018 and 2022 and further plans to reach another 4.8 million children primarily in the North, by 2027.
NUT Reacts To Threat By RSG On Penalisation Of Public Schools Principals, Head Teachers
Threat by the Commissioner, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Prof Chinedu Mmom to sack Head Teachers and Principals who contravene government policies on free education has generated more reactions.
Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Rivers State, Mr Collins Echikpu has said the principals in public schools are facing challenges that are drastically affecting the smooth running of the school administration due to lack of payment of impress by the ministry.
Echikpu clarified that some of the levies collected from parents through their wards in these public schools were used in the day to day running of the school activities.
The NUT chairman called on the state government to implement the promotion of teachers, so as to improve their efficiency and effective service delivery.
“We expect the state government to do the needful by implementing the promotion of teachers so as to encourage them to efficiently and effectively discharge their duties as expected”, Collins said.
Meanwhile, some Head Teachers in the public schools in Rivers State are calling for proper management of teachers in the state.
Some of the Head Teachers who spoke during a meeting with the Commissioner for Education in Rivers State, said lack of proper management of teachers in the public schools is responsible for the challenges facing the education sector in the state.
RSG Set To Penalise Public Schools Extorting Students
Rivers State Ministry of Education has warned principals in public schools against extortion of fees from parents whose wards are in the public schools in the state.
Commissioner for Education in Rivers State, Professor Chinedu Mmom issued the warning during a meeting with Principals of public schools held in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Mmom regretted that despite efforts by the current administration to provide education at zero cost for students in the state, some principals in the public schools have devised ways to extort money from parents.
“Despite efforts by the current administration, some of the public schools are still bent on frustrating efforts put in by this administration to achieve zero extortion and free education in the state,” he said.
He cautioned school principals against sabotaging the efforts of government as anyone caught would face the full wrath of the law.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
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