Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
All is set for the formal launch of the Bayelsa State Education Trust Fund (ETF) which was designed by the administration of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to sustain investment in the education sector.
In fulfilment of his second term campaign promises, Dickson had on March 31, 2017, signed a billed passed by the state House of Assembly into law, in order to give legal backing to the Education Trust Fund.
The law makes it compulsory for different categories of workers including contractors and civil servants in the state to pay education levies.
The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, in a statement said the idea of the Trust Fund was novel as it would help sustain the massive investment the Bayelsa State government has made in the education sector since 2012.
Iworiso-Markson disclosed that Mr. Jim Ovia, philanthropist, businessman and founder of Zenith Bank and Mr Benedict Peters renowned oil magnate and the CEO Aiteo Group, are the special guests/key launchers.
He recalled that Governor Dickson had on February 14, 2012, declared a state of emergency in education because of the rot in the education sector but “seven years down the line there is a new narrative in the sector, which also includes the state’s impressive outing in external examinations conducted by WAEC and NECO.”
The statement reads in part: “Bayelsa used to be ranked at the bottom of external exams before the coming of the Dickson’s administration but that has changed. We have since moved up the ladder as one of the top five leading states in the country. We have also drastically reduced the number of out-of-school children by 90%.
“Our model boarding schools which today have over 10,000 students mostly from poor indigent families on full government scholarships are also part of the revolution that has happened in that sector. All of these need to be sustained and the Education Trust Fund will take care of that.”