The Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Chairman, Dr. Philip Tachin has said the state government has made efforts to tackle the challenges in the primary education sector; giving it a human face through creating a conducive environment for all.
He said the board has achieved a lot with the federal government’s N7.6 billion grant and the release of N3.8 billion matching grant by the state as counter part funding for the provision of structures and facilities to uplift basic education in the state.
The grant has helped SUBEB build 861 new classrooms across the 23 local government areas of the state and to plan better welfare for teachers, he said.
Tachin said the construction of new classrooms in primary schools was meant to restore the lost glory of government-owned educational institutions by repositioning them.
He said the state Ministry of Education embarked on 740 projects in which at least 1,082 dilapidated classrooms had been renovated while 158 new computers and their accessories were procured to aid learning.
Tachin added that 21,830 ultra-modern chairs and tables for pupils were also procured along side 606 teachers’ tables and chairs so as to tackle challenges imposed on the sector in the past.
The chairman also said recent media reports of N7 billion contract scam involving the board was not correct. He said contrary to the reports, the board hasn’t awarded contracts to politicians and that due process was followed in the award of the contracts.
He said that the recent arrest of two cashiers had no connection with the issue of award of contracts. He said the police headquarters in Abuja had requested bank statements and other account documents from the board between 2011 and 2015 which was the period of the past administration adding that he promptly directed the cashiers to provide the documents for submission but their delay in complying with his directive resulted to their arrest.
The board chairman further appealed to teachers not to relent in their efforts in the educational development of the young ones and assured that the state government was exploring ways of raising money to clear their salary arrears.
In the effort to completely transform the schools in the state, the SUBEB chairman said they have also mapped out strategies to attract more pupils’ enrolment into primary schools across the state.
Tachin said the board would in addition to the federal government’s school feeding programme that is expected to commence soon in the state, give out gifts to pupils in public primary schools as well as engage stakeholders in massive campaigns, especially at the rural areas to attract children back to school.
He noted that the idea was first mooted by the board in February last year and that it had impacted positively on communities, especially where schools were destroyed during crises.
“The board, in a bid to boost enrolment, transition, retention and completion rates in our schools flagged off, enrolment drive campaign tagged, ‘Our School Shall Rise Again,” Tachin revealed.
The head teacher of Junior Secondary School Ainu Centre in Oju Local government, Mr. Peter Ugele said the school had 60 students and nine teachers. He said new structures were built and urged the government and called for the need to investigate the challenges facing teachers’ welfare.