Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

Ebie disclosed that the state had 1,121 primary schools and 469 secondary schools, including the 25 new primary and secondary schools established by the present administration.

The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie, has said that the state government would spend N500 million on school furniture next year.

Ebie made this known on Thursday in Asaba during an interactive session with the State House of Assembly’s Committee on Education.

He decried the high rate of theft in schools in the state and said that the government would give priority attention to basic and secondary education.

He also said that efforts were on to complete the upgrading of models schools across the state.

Ebie disclosed that the state had 1,121 primary schools and 469 secondary schools, including the 25 new primary and secondary schools established by the present administration.

He also said that the state government would embark on teachers professional development centre, next year, for building the capacity of teachers, adding that there would also be curriculum enrichment in schools.

Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Ms Angela Nwaka, urged the ministry to improve on standard of infrastructure in primary and secondary schools in the state.

Nwaka, who decried the poor state of basic infrastructure in the schools, especially those in rural communities, stressed the need for correcting the wrongs of the past “for good future of public schools in the state’’.

She assured the ministry of the readiness of the state legislature to assist in adequate budgetary provisions as required by law.

According to Nwaka, the essence of this session is to familiarize with the officials of the ministry and seek ways of collaboration in moving the basic and secondary education forward in the state.

The lawmaker said the committee would carry out oversight functions on the ministry and its parastatals as part of its effort to strengthen education standard in the state.

She said that education was faced with myriad of challenges, and called for effective collaboration with the ministry and relevant stakeholders towards addressing the challenges.

She advised the ministry to focus on monitoring of schools to check truancies, adding that lack of monitoring was also a big challenge to quality education at the basic level.

Nwaka assured that the committee was not to witch-hunt anyone but to ensure that adequate attention was given to teaching, learning and infrastructure as well as security of equipment in schools.

A member of the committee, Dr Timi Tonye, advised that standards should not be compromised in the state’s education system even if it needed the introduction of minimal school fees.

Timi noted that education was not cheap, adding that it was not easy to operate free education as sometimes, people tended not to value anything that was free.

According to him, the ministry can look at the possibility of reducing the number of schools and improve on the quality of those left.

He also said that most public primary and secondary schools in the state were not fenced, adding that it had given room for encroachment, theft of equipment among other drawbacks.