From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti

The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has disclosed that his administration has paid a total sum of N7.8 billion to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) as counterpart funds to attract quality projects to public schools in the state.

The governor, speaking on Monday while commissioning school projects at Isan Ekiti in Ifesowapo Local Council Development Area and Ewu Ekiti in Ilejemeje Local Government Area, said government will continue to make public schools attractive to parents and pupils.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the governor said a huge investment in education by his administration in the last three years has resulted in very encouraging enrolment in public primary and secondary schools across the state.

According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, renovated blocks of classrooms were commissioned at LA Friendly Nursery/Primary School, Isan Ekiti and St Boniface Primary School, Ewu Ekiti as part of activities to mark the Fayemi Administration’s three years in office.

Unable to hide his joy at the project commissioned in his community, the Elewu of Ewu Ekiti, Oba Adetutu Ajayi, lauded the Fayemi administration for turning around the school in his domain with quality facilities and other projects executed and inaugurated to boost the standard of living in the grassroots.

The governor explained that enrolment in public primary schools which stood at 106,271 in 2018 when he assumed office has increased to 241,982 in 2021 while that of public secondary schools jumped from 84,146 in 2018 to 109,140 in 2021.

The increase in enrolment was also recorded in technical schools as it moved from 700 in 2018 to 2,021 in 2021 following the overhaul and provision of state-of-the-art equipment to boost vocational education to reduce unemployment.

The governor noted that his administration also committed enormous resources to train and retrain teachers and school support administrators with over 15,000 of them benefiting from capacity building programmes in the last three years.

The governor added that over 600 new teachers were recruited to fill the available vacancies and strengthen the manpower needs of public schools within the period under review.

‘Our administration in the last 36 months introduced a multiple-pronged approach to tackle the problems that are directly or indirectly militating against the access of children to free, qualitative basic education in the state,’ he stated.

‘These include the payment of matching grants totalling over N7.84 billion to UBEC which covers the period of the years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

‘Provision of instructional materials to schools, payment of running grants to all public primary and secondary schools in the state, ongoing massive rehabilitation of school infrastructure and construction of additional school buildings as well as the provision of conducive teaching and learning environment in schools.’

The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof Femi Akinwumi, meanwhile, expressed delight that the Fayemi administration had since assumption of office on October 16, 2018, demonstrated strong commitment towards finding a lasting solution to various problems plaguing the education sector.

Represented by the Commissioner for Projects Management in SUBEB, Dr Kayode Adeoye, Prof Akinwumi appealed to parents and guardians to send their children to public schools so that they can benefit from the investment being ploughed into the sector.

Prof. Akinwumi said the UBEC/SUBEB collaboration has yielded the construction of 120 blocks of new classrooms, 208 blocks of water system VIP toilets, over 215 perimeter fences, drilling of over 86 motorised boreholes in schools, renovation of 423 blocks of classrooms and over 20,000 units of school furniture.

‘In May this year, the state government initiated another round of over 400 UBEC/SUBEB projects across the length and breadth of the state. These projects are at various stages of completion. In fact, one of these projects is being commissioned here today.

‘No fewer than five primary schools have been established in the state by the JKF-Administration along with the five Model Colleges while efforts are in top gear to construct another three model colleges as part of efforts to improve access to quality education particularly given the considerable increase in school enrolment,’ the SUBEB boss noted.

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Source: news