From: ROSE EJEMBI, Makurdi.
Benue State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, has set up a Benue People’s Education Project (BePEP), with the sole objective of generating funds from alternative sources to address the funding crisis in educational sector.
Speaking to newsmen o0n the matter, Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Dennis Ityavyar, noted that the scheme was the first crowd-funding platform ever set up by the state government with the sole aim of restoring public confidence in public schools as centers of academic excellence for the Benue Children.
He said the scheme which is approved by the state Governor, Samuel Ortom would be soliciting partnership from the local communities and corporate organizations as well as individuals irrespective of their economic status to develop public education in the state.
Prof. Ityavyar recalled that on assumption of office as education commissioner, he took a critical look at the deteriorating conditions of public schools in the state and deemed it necessary to set up BePEP to usher in a more collaborative and sustainable approach for leveraging funding for public education in the state.
The Commissioner expressed disgust at his findings stressing that apart from public schools being in a critical state, teachers were owed salaries over half a year; class rooms over crowded and many others razed down due to crisis even as many schools were turned into Internally Displaced Camps for IDPs.
He explained further that it was for this reason that BePEP was initiated to bring government and community members together to generate greater shared political, operational and financial commitment to improve access to resources and technical support needed to optimally educate the almost two million students enrolled in public schools within the state.
The project, according to Ityavyar, also plans to bridge the policy implementation discrepancy in education that has plagued previous administration in the state as it would use a flexible and adaptable approach to both governance and operations, particularly at the incubation period to ensure that lessons learned can inform crowd- funding efforts moving forward.
Also speaking, state coordinator of BePEP, Mrs. Betty Kajoh expressed optimism that N10 billion would be generated in the first year and plunged into transforming public schools in the state.