‘How industrialisation efforts will fight unemployment, empower residents’
In Edo State, it’s a new dawn for teachers and the education sector. The state government, it was gathered, recently embarked on initiatives that would bring the education sector in touch with modern realities, especially in the use of technology.
Acting Chairman of Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe asserted that technology was being used to drive education in the state, especially at the primary level.
“Every other sector is using technology. Education must change, and teachers must follow suit,” she noted.
“Teachers are nation builders. With the use of digital lesson plans, teachers can work with prepared lessons to ease their burden and give more time to supervise the children and manage their classrooms.” She informed that the Edo State Government was determined to bring Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to classrooms.
To achieve this, the government initiated a programme codenamed EDOSTAR. This, it was learnt, is a Teacher Professional Development Training conceived to build the capacity of teachers in the use of digital technologies in classrooms as well as in the use of new classroom management techniques.
“It is a part of Governor Obaseki’s bold reforms in the basic education sub-sector, known as the Edo Basic
Education Sector Transformation (EDOBEST),” Dr. Oviawe said, adding that over 2,000 teachers as well as headmasters and headmistresses participating in the exercise would receive computer tablets and smart phones.
“Edo BEST is about imagining the education of tomorrow and starting it today. Governor Obaseki is committed to a holistic change in our basic education sub-sector. On the first day of training, we realised that the training was oversubscribed. Over 3,000 teachers showed up. It was a herculean task to send some away because we have a set limit we can accommodate for this training. We will have more trainings as we expand Edo BEST to other schools,” she said.
The government, it was also learnt, is currently reconstructing the old Benin Technical College which will serve as a hub for skills acquisition.
“We anticipate that it would be near completion before the end of the year,” Governor Obaseki said recently.
“When the project is completed, it will enable victims of human trafficking and others to acquire technical and vocational skills which will offer them hope.”
Youths in Edo seeking to be employers of labour and wealth creators would also be offered training at the college, On completion, the college is expected to supply technical manpower to the Benin Industrial Park, the planned Benin Modular Refinery and other enterprises that require technical and vocational manpower, the governor noted.
Meanwhile, the Tayo Akpata University of Education, Ekiadolor, as well as a multi-campus College of Education with sites in Igueben, Abudu and Auchi would soon begin full operation.
“While the Abudu campus is to serve as Special Training Centre for teachers at the Basic Education level, the campus at Igueben will focus on training teachers for technical and secondary education. And after revamping this institution, it will serve as a centre for training and certification of new sets of teachers for the basic level of education. This will prepare the teachers to adopt modern teaching methods at that level of education.”
Many residents of the state insisted that the governor was deserving of praise for tackling rot from the base, citing his reforms in the basic education and public health sectors, as well as his passion for skills development.
“The governor is also constructing roads and opening up new places,” said Lucky Osamwonyi, a businessman. “I’m well aware that many road projects are on-going across the state. That is why people say that the state is a huge construction site.”
Some of the road construction projects, it was gathered, include reconstruction of Lucky Way in Ikpoba Hill area, Benin City; rehabilitation of Wire Road, TV Road, construction of Ogiefa Street, Ogiefa lane and Amadasun Street; reconstruction of Nevis Street; Old Agbor Road-Ugbegun, Ekpon-Ubiaja Road, Angle 80- Illushi, Ewohimi Usehi Junction-Okaigbeu, Opoji-Ugbegun Road, Akia Roundabout-Niyelen, and many others.
Recently, the Country Director of World Bank in Nigeria and Coordinating Director for Regional Integration Programme in West Africa, Rachid Benmessaoud was in Edo State, alongside some other top shots of the organisation. At a meeting with the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, the World Bank threw its weight behind the ongoing developmental drive of the state government and urged other states in the country to replicate the Edo model.
“But all that has not prevented the governor from tackling security issues in the state. Only recently, the state government procured two units of Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), and there are immediate plans to purchase gunboats and a helicopter for the security agencies,” a top police officer informed.
Tackling the rot at the base has not stopped the government from pursuing its highly ambitious industrial plans, it was gathered. “We are pursuing an aggressive industrialisation drive. Our goal is to utilise our endowments, particularly the available energy and logistical advantage so that we can become a major industrial hub,” the governor had noted at the last Alaghodaro Investment Summit. Some of the major industrialisation projects include the Benin Industrial Park, Benin River Port Project, Modular Refinery Project, 1800-unit housing project and a number of educational and health projects.
The Benin Industrial Park is expected to host a number of industries that will source raw materials within the state and convert them for local use and export. “When the park is ready, we will have over 1,000 companies in that park, generating an excess of $3 billion annually,” the governor said.
The Benin River Port Project in Gelegele is about taking off, it was learnt, while work on the Edo modular refinery project is being finalised with officials of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources. The governor informed that ordinary citizens in the state would be part of the industrial plans of the government. His words: “We will ensure that Edo citizens are trained in welding, refinery operation and fabrication works to enable them participate in the construction of the refinery as well as its operation, post-commissioning. The refinery construction will provide jobs for several unemployed Edo youths, including the Libya returnees.”
For the health sector, it was gathered that the government is working on a health insurance scheme for workers and other residents. And besides the 20 functional primary healthcare centres, the governor says 200 more would be built within the next two years to expand the access to primary healthcare across the state.