Some stakeholders in Rivers State have expressed disappointment over alleged neglect of the education sector by the state government.
They lamented that education, which secures the future, had not been given adequate attention by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, citing lack of teachers, infrastructure and failure by the state government to pay the National Examinations Council (NECO) fees as it promised.
But in a swift reaction, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, stated that the state government had been spending huge resources to ensure access to quality education in the state, the efforts by the state government towards quality education are visible for everyone to see.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, while speaking on a Port Harcourt based radio station yesterday, claimed that education is not the priority of the present administration because it has been totally neglected.
Peterside said: “Education is the way to secure the future and you see the manifestation of Governor Wike’s lack of interest in the sector. Today, Rivers State students cannot access their NECO results because the state government owes NECO. In Etche, there are no teachers in critical subjects because the schools lacked teachers; there is no employment of teachers since inception of this government.
“Many schools have been shut down due to lack of teachers, the governor has said he does not want heads of teachers to charge any fee. Meanwhile, he has not given them the imprest to run the school. Most of the schools are not functional and cannot compete in the 24th century Nigeria.”
Similarly, while noting that prime attention to education will address social and security challenges, an educationist, Lawrence Chukwu, called for urgent employment of qualified teachers to public schools in Rivers State.
Similarly, some parents in Etche Local Government Area of the State have lamented lack of teachers in schools in the area and called on men of goodwill, lovers of education to bring teachers to the school to teach the children, especially at Community Primary School, Mbanifo.
But in a statement signed by Ebeku, on Tuesday night, the commissioner stated that the state’s Ministry of Education would like to disabuse the minds of the public about news regarding the education sector in the state, suggesting that the state government is not bothered about the education sector.
He said that on the contrary, efforts by the state government under Wike towards quality education were visible for everyone to see in terms of provision of infrastructure and sponsorship of public examinations.
He said: “In 2021 alone, over N1 billion was paid to sponsor candidates in public examinations, including WAEC, NABTEB, JAMB, and NECO. No other state in the country does this. If there is any technical issue, concerned or interested person’s should contact the Ministry of Education to verify before making statements that mislead the public.”
“It is important to state emphatically that the Rivers State Government places great premium on education and goes to great lengths to ensure all is well in the sector. Even Federal Government examination agencies such as NECO and JAMB are provided free office accommodation and operational vehicles.”
He urged the public to treat contrary statements on education in the state as political jibes.