Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared his administration is committed to creating access to basic education for rural and oceanic communities of the state. 

Speaking during a courtesy visit by the World Bank Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) yesterday, Governor Wike said the state government embarked on the reconstruction and furnishing of rural schools to encourage parents to send their children to school.

He said: “In the last four years, we have reconstructed and furnished 253 basic schools in the state. These schools are located mainly in the rural and oceanic areas.

“We reconstructed and furnished these schools to give our children access to quality education.”

Governor Wike explained that his administration abolished every form of fees in primary, junior and secondary schools to encourage parents to educate  their children.

“I have abolished every form of payment in primary, junior and senior secondary schools because many parents are poor and they cannot afford these payments.

“We have taken the burden away from them, so that poor parents can conveniently send their children to school,” he said.

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The governor said the state government has approved the employment of 10,000 teachers to boost the quality of education.

He said the government, through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has trained over 3,000 teachers.

“Basic education is key to the development of the state. SUBEB is awarding contracts for the furnishing of schools slated for 2018. After that, we will award 2019 contracts for the furnishing of schools.

“We are expecting more enrolments in schools, with the investments and progress that we have made,” he said.

He said there are 1,315 basic education schools, pointing out that the state government was working hard to transform the schools through phased interventions.

“Our state has completed and accessed all our grants from the Universal Basic Education Commission. We are up to date in the funding of basic education programmes.

“Part of the problem of Universal Basic Education is the inability of states to access matching grants. We have accessed these matching grants and we are using the same to develop the basic education sector,” Governor Wike said.