.As State Holds Independence Debate For Students –
Edo State Government, Wednesday, held the finales of a Quiz and Debate Competition for primary and Secondary schools in the state as part of activities lined up by the state to celebrate the nation’s 55th Independence Anniversary.
The Governor who was elated by the performance of the pupils of Afuda Primary School Uromi who won the Quiz competition for Primary Schools and students of Edo Boys High School, who defeated their counterparts from Lumen Christi International School, Uromi to win the debate for secondary school students, said he will do everything possible in the next 13 months of his administration to build more public primary and secondary schools.
He said: “I want to make a commitment that I still have about 13 months in government and I will do everything possible over the next 13 months to build more Primary and Secondary Schools and provide more furniture.
“Over the next 13 months, we will spend not less than N6 billion naira additional investment in Primary and Secondary Schools infrastructure. You will soon find contractors working in the remaining schools because I do appreciate that no child should be dumped in those relics that PDP left behind. Every Edo Child is entitled to a red roof, classrooms with beautiful tiles and other facilities. We will do as many of those schools as we can and the next APC Government will complete the story.
“We will sustain the free Primary education, the free Junior Secondary School education and the free Senior Secondary education. We will continue to insist that you don’t pay any charge, whether for examination or invigilation, PTA or for whatever guise. For us, freedom means one thing; free of all charges. For those who live around Benin where the Comrade Buses operate, you will continue to have access, whether you are in Private or Public Schools to use the Comrade Bus, free of charge. We will look inwards and see any further incentives we can provide.
“I am pleased when we compare notes nationwide about the least number of out of school children, in the South-south geo-political zone which include Delta, Edo is the leader. According to the Federal Ministry of Education in their last report, we have about 7.2% out-of-school children. It is the lowest in the South-south. The average in the country is about 40%, some are as high as 60 per cent.
“This is still not good enough. The logic and the basis of free education is that every child of school age must be in school. We are going to re-strategise at the level of the State Executive Council on any new initiative we can put in place to encourage and compel every parent or guardian to ensure that any child and every child that ought to be in school is in school.
“It is the irreducible minimum obligation that every competent government must deliver the future leaders of our great country and continent.
“The joy I have is that 7 years ago, some of this kids who are in this hall, including this hall wouldn’t stay here during the rainy season because many of our schools had no roofs, they had potholes inside their classrooms and teachers carried plastic chairs to and fro the schools. We haven’t fixed all the schools but we have made some progress and this hall is one of them.
“In Edo State, we paid even before the Sallah holiday when other states are owing 9 months, in some cases one year, schools closed, we insist that the Edo teacher is number one priority and you can see the outcome of these clear visions; beautiful schools marked by teachers who are well paid and even promoted up to Grade Level 17, some teachers becoming Permanent Secretaries.
“The result is that from a situation in which we were between 26th and 30th position in national examinations, over the past 2, 3 years, we are beginning to see the outcome to the investments we have made in education so that last year in WAEC examination, Edo State came 3rd, this Year in NECO examination, we came 2nd.”
The Governor announced cash prizes to the winner, runner up and second runner up in both the quiz and debate competitions in addition to the trophies presented to the winners. The topic of the debate is “Can Nigeria survive without crude oil.”