As part of efforts to ensure Esan youths are taken away from the streets, the Association of Esan Professionals(AEP) has launched a N250 million Education Trust Fundraising to improve the standard of secondary education in Esan coummunities.
During the fundraising event which took place recently, the chairman of the day, the Adolor of Ewatto and Odolagbon of Warri Kingdom, Chief Leemon Ikpea, said that the event could not have come at better time than now, adding that what AEP is striving to achieve as an association is to ensure that there are no out of school children among the Esan people.
Chief Ikpea said that for Esan coummunities to be free of out of school children, educational infrastructure, tools and other the necessary resources that would help make the standard of education high must be provided for selected schools.
He contended that left for the Edo State government, the principal objective of education will not be achieved, adding that these challenges necessitated the decision of AEP to assist by organising a N25 million Education Trust Fundraising event to achieve the desired result.
He urged well-meaning Esan indigenes to donate generously to the cause, recalling that through the AEP, 20 Esan youths were trained in welding and fabrication at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) for nine months.
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Mrs. Philomena Ihenyen, said that the recent WAEC where the state was declared the overall best is a testimony to the fact that the programme is working, adding that there is more to do and that the state government take education very seriously hence the instruction of EdoBest.
Government, she said is ready to collaborate with AEP to improve education in the state, while thanking the association for its efforts
Earlier, the President of AEP, Mr. Efe Akhigbe in his welcome address said that the event is a unique one and that is the first in person and virtual fundraising ever organised since the inception of the association 21 years ago.
On why the event was both in person and virtual, Akhigbe said that the essence is to bring about inclusiveness and also ensure that Esan people wherever they may be, to help proffer solutions.
He informed that this year’s event is a follow-up to that of 2021 the theme, ‘Enhancing Secondary School Education in Esanland Through Teaching Intervention’ that focused primarily on the challenges facing secondary schools in the land.
According to Akhigbe, “The workshop and the research carried out by the association brought to the fore, the lack of teachers in secondary schools which has become a major challenge to deliver quality secondary education in Esanl coummunites. From our research, most of the schools in our communities do not have teachers and where they are available, they may just be one or two teachers including the principal.”
Speaking further, the AEP President stated that the previous workshop was to draw the attention of critical stakeholders to the challenges of education in the state and is hoping that the government will address the situation by recruiting more teachers.
Akhigbe added that in view of this, AEP intervened by providing teachers in 15 secondary schools and paying for three teachers per school spread equally among the five Local Government Areas(LGSs) in Esan communities.
In his words, “The testimonies from the principal of the schools where we are intervening have been so heartwarming. Based on this and before government deploys teachers to these schools, we want to increase the participating schools and also the number of teachers per school. Once the state government does what it should, we will direct such resources to other areas of need.”