From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called for the amendment of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act to accommodate the funding of senior secondary education across the country.
Wike, who made the call yesterday, in Port Harcourt, during a courtesy visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, announced the state would flag-off rehabilitation of 174 primary schools.
He said rather than establish another commission to cater for the infrastructure needs of senior secondary schools, UBEC should be empowered by law to handle such issues as it would be more economical for the country.
“The amendment of the UBEC Act to accommodate senior secondary education was started by the last administration, but it was not concluded. I, therefore, call for the amendment of the UBEC Act to ensure the commission undertakes the funding of senior secondary. “When we came on board, we discovered that the immediate past administration did not access UBEC funds because of the failure to pay counterpart funds. We have paid the counterpart funds and accessed N5.6 billion. By Thursday, we will flag-off the total rehabilitation of 174 primary schools across the state. These schools will also be furnished,” he said.
The governor said his administration was re-positioning basic education to secure the future of the state. He regretted that though some states claimed they have made primary education their top priority, it was worrisome that such states left their UBEC funds un-accessed.
The governor informed the committee that the state government had written to the Federal Ministry of Education to take over two federal schools in Ogu/Bolo and Aluu, which have been overgrown by weed after they were completed by the former president Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Earlier, the committee Chairman, Mr. Zakari Mohamned, said Rivers State was one of the top six states to access UBEC funds for the development of basic education.
He said the committee was in the state to assess the utilisation of UBEC funds for the development of key projects in the sub-sector.