From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Jonathan will deliver the keynote address at Bayelsa Education Summit billed to hold between Monday February 7 and Thursday February 10.
The State Commissioner for Education, Hon Gentle Emelah who disclosed this in a press conference over the weekend to announce the Education Summit stated that Jonathan being an educationist is expected to share useful strategies that would led to the development of the education sector in the state.
According to him the summit conceptualized as the “Cradle of the New Bayelsa Education Sector” is to produce forward looking ideas and vision for the next 15 years in a relatable education policy.
Emelah who disclosed that 25 years after creation of the state, there are 547 primary schools, 195 secondary schools and nine tertiary institutions in the state funded and supervised by the Ministry of Education, said two inspection tours undertaken by the Ministry highlighted teething problems besetting the education sector in Bayelsa.
While noting that the state government was able to achieve accreditation for all programmes in the various tertiary institutions, he listed infrastructural needs, availability of quality teachers, general enrolment numbers in schools and transition rates from primary to secondary schools as factors that can shape policy enactment for the education sector.
Emelah explained that the state government had built new secondary schools and made commitment to build one technical school in each local government area.
In spite of the laudable achievements recorded by the administration of Governor Douye Diri in the education sector, the Commissioner noted that strategies of government requires overhauling especially in the face of shift to Technical and Vocational Education and Training( TVET) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math(STEM).
“It however now clear that the substructure of the educational sector which lies in the plans, policies for pedagogical engagement and strategies of government would require proper evaluation and overhauling to meet with the needs of society as we gradually approach the half of the 21 st Century.
“As society places more emphasis on both soft and hard skills and science and technology to drive both work and existence, it is imperative also for educational focus to shift to more of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and other modern approaches at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels to ensure the provision and sustenance of the quality of education that meets global standards,” he said.
Emelah pointed out that the paradigm shift in focus would greatly require the expertise of individuals, educationists, and civil society organizations, and called for collaboration and partnership towards achieving the desired goal.