By Bridget Ikyado

Benue State Government has warned stakeholders in the education sector that it would no longer tolerate mediocrity, half standards, inefficiency, laxity, and non-performance.

The government said the warning was imperative as it was committed to ensuring the success of its total reform of the education system and the full automation of all processes by 2025.

Dr Terna Francis, Director-General, Benue State Education Quality Assurance Agency, said this in Makurdi during a meeting with education stakeholders in the state.

He said that the establishment of the agency was to drive the reforms and weed out those who had dragged the education system down.

According to him, education remains the swiftest vehicle to societal development as such the sector will no longer be glossed over.

“Unfortunately, the Benue society has in past decades been characterized by what may be described as an uncritical, unwholesome and unsuited assimilation of education models, leaving much more to be desired.

“This conceptual confusion has largely been responsible for the recurrent travails and undoing of the Benue society in various aspects.

“It is this unchecked educational system without concomitant consideration for ethical content that has birthed the geometric progression in social vices such as examination malpractices, mediocrity and high crime rates in our society today.

“You will agree with me that there are charlatans parading themselves as proprietors of schools; offering unbaked or half-baked education services thereby, truncating the recognized benefits of education to the Benue society.

“Many of these ‘schoolprenuers’ operate miracles centres for external examinations; maintaining few students from JSS 1-SS2 but miraculously registering hundreds of students for WAEC & NECO in SS3,” Terna said.

He said that Governor Hyacinth Alia has taken urgent steps to rescue the educational sector, which included the establishment of the Education Quality Assurance Agency.

“The basic objectives of the Agency include, strengthening education at the Basic and Post-Basic level

“Redefine the criteria for delivery of quality education in the State

“Create an efficient administrative structure for policy formulation, monitoring and implementation.

“Strengthen Government’s control and regulation of schools below tertiary level in the State.

“Standardize and evaluate both private and public schools below tertiary level in the State.”

He told the stakeholders that the agency will also ensure the application of technology in education.

“As an agency, we intend to fully automate school registration, enumeration, documentation and certification through a comprehensive school management portal which will not only serve as a repository for our database but also, the only channel of exchange between education stakeholders and the agency, latest, by the year 2025.

“This will mean the total elimination of paperwork whether in forms, filing or evaluation.

“Additionally, we have put adequate measures in place to carry out Recertification Exercise for both Private and Public schools in the state.

“Apart from the data gathering rationale behind this exercise, it will also help us to know which school is up-to-date with the standard establishment guidelines and otherwise.

“While those who are up-to-date will be issued a Certificate of Consent, designed with security features to fully operate the same; those that are not up-to-date, after this exercise, will be advised to upgrade within a specified period of time.

“Others that fall too low below the standard will be shut down and parents advised to transfer their children to only certified schools, depending on the degree of noncompliance,” the DG added.

He also said the Agency would organize seminars, symposia, workshops, at reasonable intervals in order to carry out continuous re-orientation of stakeholders.

“Such a re-orientation is intended to bring the needed attitudinal and behavioural changes as well as catalyse, sustain and consolidate the Benue developmental drive of the administration.

“It is the intention of the Agency to make education at the Basic and Post-Basic levels wholistic – education of the head, the hand, the spirit and the mind.

“This is in tandem with the fact that any education that is worthwhile ought to equip one for life and living; and create in the individual, the ability to master and survive his or her environment.

“For education is dead which does not equip one with the necessary knowledge and skills to dominate one’s environment.”

Terna assured that the agency would be responsive and accessible to the educational needs of the average Benue person.

“Permit me to state from the onset that the Agency shall not tolerate mediocrity, half standards, inefficiency, laxity, and non-performance.

“We therefore invite all stakeholders, relevant groups and concerned individuals to put hands on deck as we work to salvage and reposition qualitative education in Benue State.”

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