With the advent of the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration, the resuscitation of basic education in the State became a focal point and as such was placed at the vanguard of the administration’s objectives. It was not going to be an easy task considering the enormous work which had to be done to make the sector come alive and the huge amount of funds needed to drive the rehabilitation process. Through sheer courage and persistence and the willingness to produce concrete results, the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation was birthed as a directional initiative to drive the needed restructuring at the basic education sub-sector.
It was the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration’s commitment to provide quality education for every child in Edo State. Accordingly, there was a shift in the paradigm through the introduction of Edo BEST as the funding of education by the administration was considered investments made in individual children, rather than just in institutions or buildings.
The revolutionary initiative which is being driven by the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) under the Chairmanship of Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, has not been without limitations, but with exceptional hard work and determination to see to the full realisation of the renaissance in basic education in the State, one could say that this past one year has recorded what many can attribute as successes.
Edo BEST initially saw to the training of about seven thousand (7,000) teachers and headteachers as part of the Teacher Professional Development programme in tech-based pedagogy and modern teaching methods and even as this one year anniversary is being marked, additional four thousand, six hundred (4,600) teachers and headteachers are currently undergoing a three-week long training which would make the total figure of trained teachers and headteachers approximately twelve thousand (12,000). These trainees are also equipped with mobile computer gadgets and smart phones for easy access to and uniformity of lessons in order to aid the teaching and learning process. So far, seven thousand and ninety four (7,094) gadgets and smartphones have been distributed to teachers and headteachers.
So far, about nine hundred thousand (900,000) textbooks have been distributed for free to pupils in 931 public schools with over a hundred and seventy thousand (170,000) pupils as beneficiaries.
To aid effective monitoring and effective community participation in this programme, about four hundred and fifty (450) field officers (Quality Assurance, Social Mobilisation, and Learning and Development Officers) were trained and put to work to that effect. Field officers like the Social Mobilisation Officers have been involved in enlightenment campaigns to enlighten parents and guardians on the workings and modalities of Edo BEST and also to curb the out-of-school children saga both in urban and rural communities, especially in market places. So far the initiative has recorded over twenty thousand (20,000) increase in pupils’ enrollment in public schools.
Similarly, eleven thousand, six hundred and eighty eight (11,688) School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) members have been trained for effective community participation; a step which has incorporated host communities within the framework of Edo BEST. Just recently the SBMC advisory committee was inaugurated by His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki. Such community engagement has ensured proper monitoring in the administration of public schools as well as the provision of security for school infrastructures.
The renovation/construction of 234 public schools across the 18 LGAs of the State is currently ongoing with over two thousand (2,000) classrooms renovated and about fifty (50) of these schools being rebuilt from the scratch. New schools have also been earmarked to be constructed in 33 oil producing communities of the State.
The Edo BEST initiative has been greeted with wide approval from within and outside the shores of Nigeria. Many states of the federation today make Edo a reference point as it concerns basic education. Facebook International and other foreign bodies have demonstrated interests in partnering with Edo State Government and the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board in furthering this revolutionary initiative. Recently, a high level delegation from Rwanda paid a visit to the State in order to keep up to speed with the rate of progress at the basic education sub-sector of the State.
Through infinite intelligence, foresight and clear vision, unrelenting pursuit, exceptional leadership disposition and political will, the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration has made a quintessence of what basic education entails. Pupils are learning and have become more academically driven. The teachers are happier, smarter, more proficient and better equipped to provide pupils with the 21st Century needs of the classroom.
Like Winston Churchill however noted, success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts. Edo SUBEB in conjunction with the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration is determined to continuously drive this developmental strides. The warmth by which this initiative has been received by communities, stakeholders and the good people of Edo State, has become a wind beneath the wings of this administration. We shall continue to rest on the shoulders of the giants strides recorded so far in order to provide quality education for every child in the State.