Governor Ortom’s milestone in the education sector
The Governor had during his maiden broadcast to the people unveiled his administration’s master plan for the state which he christened “Our Collective Vision for a New Benue.”
He also clearly stated his desire to give top priority to education in order to transform the sector and to achieve that he anchored his far reaching intervention in the sector on a policy framework of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) based education.
He pointed out that he was on a mission to rescue the sector from years of neglect insisting that education was the variable tool to drive the state’s economy and also give the youths who had become willing tools in the hands of desperate politicians the sense of responsibility to contribute their quota in the development of the state.
“We will be committed to giving each of you the highest quality training in mathematics, sciences, technology and innovation as well as creative arts to position you for tomorrow as key drivers of the Benue vision,” the Governor had said.
The Governor immediately made good his words when the government undertook a total overhaul of the primary school sector with a over N7billion counterpart funding from the Universal Basic Education Board, UBEC, intervention to revamp that sectors through the rehabilitation and construction of facilities and provision of learning and teaching aid in over 700 schools across the state
Secondary schools were also not left out in the government’s quest to reposition education in the state. And through its intervention several of them received the special touch of the government.
The state owned School of Nursing and Midwifery in Makurdi also received unimaginable facelift after being abandoned and left dilapidated by successive administrations. The Governor Ortom’s administration re-positioned the institution and got it accredited after several years of neglect. The school is today a full fledge College of Nursing and Midwifery of Benue State University School of Health Sciences in Makurdi.
It was also to the credit of the preset administration that 40 stagnated medical students of Benue State University graduated after over 12 years of waiting. The government ensured full accreditation of course at the School of Health Science and today the institution runs its courses and graduates its students seamlessly.
While these were going on the government also undertook the upgrade of facilities at the BSUTH even as it ensured that the salary of lecturers of Benue State University was placed on first line charge. By so doing the government ensured that salaries and allowances of lectures of the institution were paid as and when due.
The intervention in the primary school sector was given a boost mid last year when about 400 school got their facilities upgraded, boreholes drilled and about 35,000 modern plastic teachers and tables supplied to the schools to enhance teaching and learning.
Government owned secondary schools also benefit from the sweeping turn around in the fortune of the long neglected education sector.
Special attention was also given to the Government Girls Model Secondary School as well as the Special Schools for Exceptional (physically challenged) Children both in Aliade Gwer East Local Government Area, LGA which were in sorry states before the Governor took up their cases and also personally supervised the rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the schools to ensure their timely completion.
State owned tertiary institutions were not let out in the wind of change that has been sweeping through the education sector. While institutions like the Benue State University, Makurdi, College Of Education, Katsina-Ala, College Of Education, Oju, College of Agriculture Yandev, Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo enjoyed support and intervention from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETfund, the government ensured prompt payment of salaries to teaching and non teaching staff alike and also ensure the provision of basic support and infrastructures in the institutions.
While funding of all primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the states became the topmost priority of the administration given the government’s STEAM based education policy, Governor Ortom also recently announced the merger of the Technical School at BSU Makurdi with Special Science Senior Secondary School Makurdi and changed the name of the institutions to Government Science and Technical College Makurdi.
The Governor who made the announcement shortly after inspecting infrastructure at the Special Science Senior Secondary School said the merger would enable the State Government give maximum attention to the institution “since the global focus is now on science and technical education.”
An account of the Ortom revolution in the education sector would not be complete without the mention of the investigative panel constituted by the Governor to sniff the books at State Universal Basic Education Board SUBEB.
It was a move no other administration in the state dared make for reasons no one can tell but it has paid off. Large majority of the people of the state have continually commended and lauded the governor for taking that bold step to probe the board. Besides, lot have been unraveled by that panel and the Governor has been vindicated for initiating the probe which exposed the rot at Board.
There is no gainsaying that the milestone being recorded in the education sector was recently capped with the signing of the bill converting the Alfred Akawe Torkula College of Advanced and Professional Studies, AATCAPS, to Alfred Akawe Torkula Polytechnic Makurdi and another converting the Akperan Orshi College of Agriculture Yandev to Akperan Orshi Polytechnic Yandev, by Governor Ortom.
Signing the bills Governor Ortom said it was the administration’s deliberate efforts to reposition the education sector to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
“This assent is only the beginning of the process. Proactive steps would be taken to secure the necessary regulatory approvals to admit, train and graduate people who would in turn add greater value to our state,” he said.
Just not too long ago, in a show of appreciation for what his administration has done in the education sector, the Medical Doctors who graduated from the Benue State University School of Health Sciences Makurdi and the Nigeria Medical Students Association, NMSA, honoured Governor Samuel Ortom for his exploits in the sector in the state.
While the medical doctors honoured the Governor as Grand Commander of the Benue State Medical Students, the NMSA also presented an award of honour to the Governor for his show of love and care for the medical profession.
Meanwhile pundits believe that the education sector remains the present administration’s flagship in policy formulation and implementation, infrastructural and human capital development given the magnitude of investment and the cheering results being churned out from the sector.
According to the Coordinator of Benue Diaspora Renaissance Initiative, BDRI, Mr. Josiah Tor, “The Governor Ortom led administration among other things has turned around the education sector and given us a lot to cheer about.
“We know that the government is battling with a lot of financial challenges but what it has been able to recorded in that sector in the last five years by providing our children that much desired platform to acquire education is greater than any other achievement. Governor Ortom should be commended by all for the feat.
“We are aware that the government has issues with unpaid backlog of salaries but it has been up to date with salaries payment. I have no doubt that the way and manner the government is going about seeking funds to tackle that challenge in no distant time all outstanding salaries will be paid,” he added.