Ebonyi State Ministry of Education has backed the Federal Ministry of Education’s stand on the reopening of schools and the conduct of the West African Schools Certificate examinations, (WASSCE).
According to Commissioner Dr Onyebuchi Chima, the safety of Ebonyi children is paramount in the agenda of the state government.
The Commissioner disclosed this during a meeting with education stakeholders in his office in Abakaliki.
He then urged WAEC to consider its obligatory social responsibilities for safety even as it strives to meet up with the year’s examination calendar.
Also, the commissioner noted that the Ministry of Education is set to boost its ongoing e-learning programmes by extending computers and internet access to pupils and students in the hinterlands.
The commissioner explained that the move would also offer the Ministry the opportunity to expand the Ebonyi Radio and Television Virtual learning Assessment Centres to further incorporate interactive sessions which would enable the Ministry to carry out a continuous assessment of pupils and students respond to the programme.
He noted that the challenges posed to the education sector globally by unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic would not deter the State from meaningfully engaging its children educationally, adding that Edutech, though new in Nigeria, has become the way to go.
Chima further disclosed that the Ministry has developed a training programme for all the teachers in the state to enable them to get integrated into the virtual teaching and learning exercise as well as save them from slipping into redundancy within the COVID-19 period.
Chima explained: “I did inform you that we are expanding our Virtual School learning, and what we mean by that is that we are going to use this opportunity to expand what we call EBRTV Assessment Centres.
“This is designed to carry forward our e-learning programme to the hinterlands.
“Then we will expand our virtual learning by having interactive sessions because we will provide computers and internet access to our Children.
“What we call Edutech, that is educational technology is coming newly to Nigeria.
“So we will provide some edutech materials by starting that virtual outlets in our hinterlands to enable us to provide an opportunity to carry out a continuous assessment of how our children are responding to our EBRTV learning programme, pending the time it would be safe to reopen schools.
“We want to put back our teachers to start working, and the way we want to do it is to activate their brains.
“For the past four months, most of them have not gone to classes and they are becoming redundant.
“So, we want to introduce teacher preparatory classes for them to educate them on how to provide teaching and learning using virtual means.
“From next week henceforth, Ebonyi State Ministry of Education will provide a timetable we will use to ensure that our teachers come back to school, and we provide them with master trainers and mentorship.
“We want to make sure that this COVID-19 does not swallow their intellectual capacities.”
The State Education Boss who further informed that the Ministry has concluded arrangements to embark on aggressive clearing and fumigation of school facilities across the state, solicited for sustained Community – Teacher relation in the provision of Security in the Schools pending school resumption.
The meeting was attended by the leadership of ANCOPSS, their junior Secondary counterparts; the Nigeria Union of Teachers, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, among others.
The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Chief Hyacinth Ikpor and his Secondary Education Board counterpart, Mrs Elizabeth Ezeanyim took turns during the meeting to extol the gains so far recorded in the State Radio/Television learning programme.
While appreciating Governor Umahi for his political will in driving the programme, they urged the stakeholders to continue to support and avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the programme.