The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education Dr. Onyebuchi Chima has called Catholic Education Board for optimal collaboration and synergy to move education forward in the state.
The commissioner made the call in his office at Centenary City Abakaliki in the presence of Reverend Fathers and Sisters who are managers of Catholic Schools in Ebonyi State.
Addressing the Catholic Schools Managers, Dr. Chima said that the primary objective of the meeting was to collaborate with the Catholic Education Board and have the statistics of all registered nursery, primary and secondary schools and then introduce bio-data form to capture the people that teach in those schools, their qualifications and possibly have a strong synergy so that the ministry will know what they are doing and they will equally know what the ministry is doing.
He noted that Catholic education is highly recognized all over the world and should not be missed out in the all-encompassing retraining of teachers coming up soon in the state as planned by the state government.
The Hon. Commissioner said, “This meeting is very important to us as a ministry and the state as the custodian of educational system in Ebonyi State. This is my 6th week as new Commissioner for Education in Ebonyi state. Before now, a lot of things have happened some are very good, some are good, some are not that good, we want to strengthen the ones that are not good to be good, the ones that are good, to be very good and perhaps the one that is very good to be excellent.”
“First of all, we need the statistics of the entire registered Catholic nursery, primary and secondary schools in Ebonyi State, I will be giving you our bio data form; we need to know the people teaching in those schools and their qualifications.”
“We need to have a strong synergy with the headquarters of Catholic Education Board in Ebonyi State including the three technical colleges the Catholic Church is managing for the state; we need to know what you are doing there, Director, Secondary Education Board and Director Primary Education Board need to know what you are doing.”
“We don’t want to have in our educational system what I call dichotomy in secondary, dichotomy of Catholic and other faith and the dichotomy in private and public schools. Other schools are with the NAPPS while Catholics are standing on their own.”
“I wish to quickly tell you that Catholic has the peculiarity of doing things. We have to find a way of accommodating all the useful education institutions without creating a lot of larcener gaps in-between how we do it. The way Catholic does things have been recognized all over the world and Catholic schools work in harmony with the State Ministry of Education.”
“The primary objective of this meeting is to tell you we have to do it together. We have to know what you are doing, do you operate within our directives, we have to respect your special practices, next time we plan time table, we make sure the faith-based school managers, the Catholic school managers come together to ensure that the ministry’s time table agrees with their liturgical calendar and operate the same scheme of curriculum to assure uniformity in teaching and learning both private and public schools to serve as role model in public schools because public schools are already in a very critical condition.”
“We observed that most schools are teaching at their confidence, they don’t use the approved curriculum, which is why we have a mass failure in Ebonyi State mass exam malpractice because teachers teach outside the national curriculum. Recognizing the fact that not everybody will afford those private schools because they are not free, we have to strongly promote standard in our public schools, we must do.”
“His Excellency announced one of the things we sort soon after we came, how we can promote education in Ebonyi state, how do we remove the abattoirs on the neck of Ebonyi state as the most educationally disadvantaged in the South East of Nigeria. We want to see how we can drive up the scale of the standard of teaching and learn in Ebonyi state, not just engaging in milling out certificate but milling out qualification that will make our children globally competitive in the places they may find themselves tomorrow knowing full well that what we are doing today will determine the future of our state.”
“We need to wall the future of this state not just on the infrastructure we see but on the quality of education we provided not a quantity. We have so many private schools that we cannot count, both registered and unregistered and the Catholic schools cannot be exonerated in that sphere, because every parish wants to apply to have a school. We need to maintain a standard; we need to have a procedure in place and we need to carry all of you along.”
“There must be a time when we should consolidate on what we have, not just keep on opening. We need time for consolidation; we need to disassociate the commercialization of schools and provide education to our children. We have to emphasize the fact that retraining is part of what I call the Personal Development Protocol (PDP). It must be enshrined in our everyday activities as teachers of today and tomorrow.”
“We need to understand the fact that our future of tomorrow depends on what we do today, learning from what we did yesterday. “We all have to recognize the fact that we have a peculiar way of doing things if you have three children, they cannot behave the same. Catholic is a different kind of faith, the ministry of education under my watch will understand that faith but not creating what I will call two trajectories of lines that will hardly meet. We must discuss, we must put across like a cross born together.”
“We want to put you in what we are doing; we want to engage you in the training of teachers which his Excellency has made wide enough that it is not for public schools alone, you will be part and parcel of what we are doing. Ebonyi is in a hurry, and the ministry of Education wants to be at the forefront of the marathon race to develop the state.”
“I, therefore, implore Catholic Education Board to make contributions to what the ministry is doing as education roadmap of the state. I urge Catholic Mission to keep their schools away from vicinity of worship because Catholic schools is a place of proper education and should be made open to all faith” the commissioner concluded.
Responding, the Administrative Assistance, Department of Education Abakaliki Diocese, Rev. Sr. Rosemary Onyemere who led the group congratulated the commissioner on his appointment as the new commissioner for Education and expressed optimism that the Catholic School Board will collaborate with the State Ministry of Education to achieve a common goal.
Sir. Rosemary assured that the Catholic school managers will be ever ready and willing to do whatever the ministry asked them to do inasmuch as that it is something good that will bring education in this state and nation wide to greater height as one of the stakeholders of education in the state.
The Rector in charge of St. Augustine Seminary Ezzamgbo, Rev. Fr. Donatus Ofuluozor thanked the commissioner for inviting them, saying that the invitation means a big signal that the commissioner really wants to synergize with the Catholic Education Board.
He described the Hon. Commissioner as a wise man who knows that a tree no matter how big cannot make a forest.
Fr. Ofuluozor maintained that the commissioner has put a challenge to every school manager because what matters in education is knowledge, adding that certificate without knowledge is like a man without a head.
The Rector said what is killing the nation’s education is the idea of pursuing a certificate without knowledge, pointing out that it is a big problem that our education is certificate oriented not knowledge oriented.
Fr. Ofuluozor urged his priest colleagues to say at least one mass for the commissioner to actually deliver his mandate in the Ministry of Education for the benefit of all in Ebonyi State and the nation at large.
Rev. Fr. Matthew Orie in charge of Government Girls Technical College Agba who could not hide his feelings appreciated the government plan to retrain teachers because retraining of teacher is what has been missing in Ebonyi State Educational System, pointing out that many teachers don’t know what they are doing.
According to him, they don’t know their left and from their right, what they do is what they think is the right thing to do, not considering the rudiments of teaching and qualities of a teacher.
Fr. Orie opined that it is goodwill to revamp the falling standard of the state education system especially its technical schools which he said have a lot of challenges and government had promised to look into them for possible solution but not yet done.
Fr. Orie further identified another monster that is killing the state standard of education as lack of supervision and poor planning, that supervision doesn’t mean to witch-hunt anybody but to guide somebody do things better.
Fr. Orie appealed to government to support them to discharge their duty in the special schools that needs special attention.