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97-man committee to appraise Unity Schools

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Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education, on Thursday in Abuja said Unity Schools were among the best in the country.

Wike made this known at the inauguration of a 97-man committee by the Federal Government to carry out appraisal exercise in all the 104 Unity Schools in the country.

Noting that the dilapidated state of facilities in the schools had stirred serious public concerns on the quality of education offered and received by students in the schools, Wike added that insufficient budgetary allocations and numerous factors had also contributed to the deterioration of facilities in the institutions.

He said enrolment projections had increased over the years in some of the colleges, impacting on the capacity of the facilities.

“Furthermore, many of the existing buildings and other infrastructure have aged considerably due to lack of maintenance, thereby eliciting concerns about health, safety and suitability of the teaching and learning environment,” Wike said.

“The poor state of infrastructure in the Federal Government Colleges clearly negates the drive and commitment of this administration to providing the best of secondary education to the next generation of Nigerian children.

“We cannot expect optimal performance or achievements from teachers and students that are physically, mentally and psychological harassed by poor educational facilities and unfriendly learning environment.”

He added that although progress was being made through various targeted interventions, the challenges of addressing the existing infrastructure deficit in the Federal Government Colleges brought about by decades of sustained neglect was a huge one.

The minister stressed the need to adopt a concrete plan of action with clear implementation strategies, based on the new direction of the nation’s education objectives.

Wike said that the needs assessment exercise entailed the preparation and adoption of a Physical Infrastructural Development Action Plan and strategy for each of the 104 colleges.

The committee, in accordance with its terms of reference, will assess the physical conditions, quality and adequacy of all existing facilities, including buildings, classrooms, libraries, science and ICT laboratories, technical workshops, sporting facilities and other infrastructure.

The committee will also establish the number of teachers for the subjects taught in the colleges and identify existing gaps in terms of teachers and students ratio.

The Chairman of the committee, Dr. Victor Okene, applauded the Federal Government for the opportunity given to the committee members to serve.

“We want to assure the minister that we will carry out our duties diligently and we hope that the report will guide the government in planning and policy making,” he said.

“We want to have Federal Government colleges that can be compared with what we have elsewhere in the world.”

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