….Education, Sports Commissioners Plot Details
By Charles Nwankwo
Ebonyi State government through the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima, Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Charles Akpuanika and the Director General Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Timothy Nwachi, have unfolded the project and programmes of the government for school children in primary and secondary schools.
The state planned sporting project was disclosed on Monday 19th April 2021 while briefing newsmen in the office of the Hon. Commissioner for Education, at Centenary City Abakaliki.
The Hon. Commission for Education Dr. Onyebuchi Chima explained that the sports programme is the maiden edition of Governor David Nweze Umahi School Sports designed to harness and harvest talents that will represent Ebonyi State as discussed during ENDSARS Youth Summit that education should not only be conventional, it should be all encompassing providing opportunity for the school children to harness their God-given talent that would form the bedrock for sports development in the State and give them job in future.
Dr. Chima said that it is designed to include both public and private school students, illustrating that Senior Primary 5 and 6 will be included in Junior Secondary JS1, JS11 and JS111 then in Senior Secondary SS1, SS11 and SS111 will all feature in the programme
The Education Commissioner who also announced the commencement of Schools Quiz Competition across all the schools in the state, noted that the essence of the debate and quiz introductions were to further equip the children academically, improve their art of public speaking as well as engage them to contribute to governance.
Dr. Chima further explained that schools in the state had commenced their inter-house sporting activities before they were stopped by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
He, therefore, directed principals and head teachers of all the schools in the State to resume and conclude their inter-house events to source and prepare talents for the Local government, zonal and state level representations.
He further explained that in the maiden edition of Governor David Nweze Umahi School Debate, focus would be English, Mathematics, the Sciences, Igbo language writing and culture as well as Current Affairs and National issues, adding that quiz is also designed to engage the children academically to understand the values we have in Nigeria, and most importantly Ebonyi State, pointing out that the debate and quiz shall be continuous; it is going to be part of our school curriculum.
Dr. Chima also intimated the public that the debate is going to be in two segments: those that are under sixteen, and those above 16, and so shall the topics be assigned reflecting the senior primary to junior secondary schools, and the senior secondary schools up to the university levels.
The Education Commissioner however calls on parents and guardians to vigorously engage in the registration of their wards in the exit class examinations; including WAEC, NECO SSCE, NECO BECE, state BECE, Common Entrance and First School Living Certificate, explaining that NECO BECE is the Basic Education Certificate Examination nationally conducted by national examination council while the state BECE is conducted by the state Ministry of Education through Examination Development Center.
He announced that NECO has granted weaver for the conduct of NECO BECE in all public schools in Ebonyi state, maintaining that the Ministry of Education with the Executive of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) are working with NECO to know if the waiver would be extended to private schools.
He pointed out that it was only 19 schools that were accredited to take NECO but the opportunity has been extended to every public school in Ebonyi State.
The Commissioner emphasized that no school, whether public or private should admit any child into SS 1 without the NECO or state BECE certificate, noting that the expectation is that every child must complete the Junior Secondary Education before the child will be allowed into Senior Secondary Education, warning that any school principal or Head-teacher caught doing that should face disciplinary action against such person.
Dr. Chima further clarified that NECO SSCE will be taken first while WAEC will come second, stating that the general body has harmonized the two exams so that they will not be overflowing on each other.
He encouraged Ebonyians to have the same enthusiasm they have in registering WAEC for NECO, adding that all of them are accepted in the university system because they have equal weight and they could be combined in the university admission.
He encouraged Parent Teachers Association to be aware of the newly approved school prospectus and resist any attempt to extort students or pupils which was revised drastically downwards, stating that it is the right of the parents of Ebonyi State to request for the current prospectus approved by the Ministry of Education, so that if any child is asked to pay any levy outside the prospectus, the parent should refuse to pay.
Consequently, the Hon. Commissioner condemned the allegation trending on social Media against the Governor of Ebonyi State and the Ministry of Education just to tarnish the image of the Ministry and Government of Ebonyi State
He said that quarrel is not needed in the Ministry of Education that takes care of the next generation, enjoining journalists to be part of developmental journalism than engaging in sensationalism that doesn’t speak to the fact.
He described the allegation on social Media as an exercise in futility.
Also briefing the press on the sporting activities, the Hon. Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Hon. Charles Akpuanika charged school principals and Head Teachers to start and complete their inter-house sports and select best legs to prepare them for the forthcoming youth games.
He said that the programme is designed to start from schools to local government, zones and state levels. He appreciated the effort of His Excellency, David Nweze Umahi, for providing the ample opportunity to give school children the best competition.
The Director General, Ebonyi Broadcasting Cooperation (EBBC), Engr. Timothy Nwachi implored the general public to avail their children the opportunity to partake in the sporting activity and expressed the EBBC readiness to showcase every bit of the event as it is ongoing so that those within and outside Abakaliki will know what is going on.
In an interview, the State Chairman of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, Mr. Donatus Ovuoba and his counterparts of the National Association of Private School Proprietors, Mr. Kingsley Igboke, expressed their readiness to abide by the policies of government.
They noted that sports and debates were part of major contributors to children and youth development, adding that they have started mobilizing the game masters, the pupils and students for the events.
Mr. Igboke however, advised the committee in charge of the programmes to adequately integrate all concerned to encourage participation, especially by the private schools, observing that such programmes introduced by the past regime were mismanaged by the handlers which made many schools to withdraw.
Mr. Igboke said: that the programme is a welcome development which school children should all participate fully because they are all part of academic curriculum.
In attendance at the press briefing were the Executives of ANCOPSS, AOPSHON, NAPPS, NUT as well as heads of various departments of the two ministries.