Governor Willie Obiano’s administration has recorded remarkable achievements in education in Anambra State. This is due to its commitment to the wholesome education of every Anambra child, including those with special needs, the visually impaired and the physically challenged.
Obiano’s policy on education, which emphasized that “no child will be left behind” ensured that every physically challenged school child in Anambra state enjoys free tuition. On a broader scale, the Obiano administration formulated a strategic objective to meet “the learning needs of all students through the equitable distribution of resources, learning of life-long skills and ensuring that Anambra state is among the top three states with the lowest literacy rate in Nigeria.
To this end, the Obiano administration recruited about 1,000 new teachers to strengthen both primary and secondary schools and built hostels with a capacity to shelter 700 students in twelve technical colleges. He also supported public, private and mission schools in Anambra State, providing them yearly subvention to meet basic needs.
Governor Obiano’s passion for skill acquisition and the vision to equip every school child with a skill as part of a scheme to prepare the children to compete effectively in the society, informed the formation of the ‘one student one skill’ policy. This policy became the driving force behind the revamping of technical schools in the state and ensured that ICT became a fundamental part of the school curriculum.
Governor Obiano took ICT a step further by ensuring that Anambra teachers became ICT compliant. At a time, ICT compliance became a prerequisite for promotion of teachers. The Obiano administration also provided laptops for teachers in the state. In 2015, Governor Obiano sent 28 teachers to Singapore for further training in ICT and other critical areas to enhance their skills.
This has become a standard in Anambra State and has improved the quality of education in the State. The Obiano administration also instituted the policy that teachers in hard-to-reach areas will be given 20 percent of their salaries as incentives to encourage and ensure that students in such locations are not denied quality education. This policy has been in full implementation for over seven years and has encouraged teachers to give their best at all times.
As a result, Anambra teachers have won different national awards, including the Presidential Teachers Award. In 2019 World Teachers Day in Abuja organized by the Federal Ministry of Education, Anambra teachers won four of the available 24 prizes. Anambra State also won two of the four vehicles donated by President Muhammadu Buhari. Anambra teachers have sustained the tempo ever since.
The result of these policies manifested in 2018, when five girls from Regina Pacis Secondary School Onitsha won the Gold Medal at the World Technovation Championship in USA. In March 2019 at the International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology (IFEST) in Tunisia, four boys from St John Science and Technical College, Alor, won the bronze medal. Earlier in 2015, Anambra students represented Nigeria at the World Schools Debate Championships in Singapore and also won the Bronze Medal.
This is not to overlook the fact that Loretto Special Science School, Adazi Nnukwu won the first position in the 2016 assessment of schools by the Federal Ministry of Education in the senior secondary schools category while Queen of the Rosary College, Onitsha, won the first prize in the junior secondary schools category and Clement Okudo of the Abagana Central School took the first position in the primary school category.
In July this year, 10 year-old Ifunanya Nwanegbo, a pupil of Mabel Divine International School, Nnewi became the best young mathematician in Nigeria by winning a prestigious national mathematics competition. Miss Nwanegbo defeated over 200,000 pupils from schools across the federation to win the competition.
Speaking on Ifunanya’s performance, the State Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof Kate Omenugha, said that she expected nothing less from Anambra pupils participating in any national and international educational competition, noting that the young pupil’s brilliance and confidence reflected the standard and quality of education in Anambra State and the values which the State government under Gov. Willie Obiano has imbibed in the children.
WRITTEN BY IKENNA ANIAGBOSO