Any purposeful and focused leader has it at the back of his/her mind that the essence of development industrially, scientifically/technologically, infrastructural-wise and socially are essentially to benefit human beings in the specific locality and then to mankind as a whole in the raise in the standard of living, man’s environment, relationship with one another, and most importantly to develop the overall knowledge of the individual.
Leaders with a god-like vision and love for his/her people and humanity is fully aware that as he strives to build a solid scientific/technological and industrial foundation in all or key areas, the proper foundation for the provision of standard and qualitative education for the citizenry is non-negotiable, if development is to be sustained, build upon now and in the generations to come.
Scientific/technological and industrial knowledge can be acquired through transfer from one advanced nation to another less advanced country, with experts, technicians, scientists, academics/professionals etc. from such developed nation taking charge of such facilities.
Unarguably, these different experts from the country giving the technology will most often receive their pay packages in hard currencies, which a greater chunk is spent outside the shores of the host country, thereby causing capital flight so long as the system is not reverse to favour the less-developed country through institutionalization of deliberate education policy that will impart the requisite knowledge to the citizenry to equip them adequately to take over those industries/facilities and infrastructures within a reasonably short period.
The Governor of Cross River, Senator Ben Ayade, being one of those rare leaders who came into leadership position with a clear vision of positively changing the history of the state from a backward and non-industrialized poor state to that of industrial, technological/scientific one with citizens who will be among the healthiest, having high longevity and high per capita income in the world. With industries like the garment factory, pharmaceutical company, Rice city, cement factory, the deep seaport and the super highway among others that are expected to bestride the landmark of Cross River, he is fully aware that there would be a need for a well-defined system and of education that will provide education and training for the indigenes of Cross River in strategic areas to be able to take charge of those industries and facilities.
It is therefore based on this foresight and laudable vision and love for human development that the Governor Ben Ayade administration has implemented so many reforms in primary/secondary level of our educational system, restored the scholarship programme, signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on education with the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) in Ottawa, Canada, which the President of CBIE, Kate Mebride signed on behalf of her organization, while the Governor Ayade signed on behalf of Cross River Government, less than 24 hours after he had concluded an agreement on trade and investment between the state and the Canadian government.
Ayade who earlier, had been taken on tour of some technical schools in Ottawa, Ontario stated during the ceremony that the purpose and importance of the MoU “is to create a new calibration for the Cross River State Government to ensure that all citizens and indeed, all Nigerians have quality education that is akin to the Canadian Standard”, and that the visit and the pact fulfills disclosure during the 2016 Children’s day celebration at the U J Esuene stadium that hi administration will build a model school of Canadian standard in each of the three senatorial districts in Cross River. The pact signed by Ayade equally extended to cover the very important area of proving training and knowledge informally to builders/those who could not attend formal schools. Through the establishing of Builders’ school in the state.
“The intent and import of this signature is to create a new calibration for the Cross River State Government to ensure that all citizens and indeed all Nigerians have quality education that is akin to the Canadian standard, that’s the essence of our being here. In addition, we have also expanded the scope to include the builders’ school, a reconstruction of academia of some sort to provide hands on experience learning: people who are unemployable ready to go to work. So, if you don’t have proper university education, you don’t have a proper secondary school education, but you can be handy enough to be of value to yourself and to society by attending this Builders’ School”.
Ayade went ahead to explained that they were happy with what they have seen in Canada’s institutions across the nation through the instrumentality of CBIS and hoped that the collaboration with CBIE will assist to ensure that similar schools are equally erected back in Cross River and Nigeria, asserting that the young leaders in leadership positions in Africa are committed to recreating the image of the black man, just as there is no shame in learning from CBIE, as Canada has proven over the years to be a world class brand.
“We are proud and happy that CBIS is taking us across various institutions and we are quite proud and happy of what we have seen here in Canada and we are hoping that the collaboration of CBIE shall partner with us to ensure that we have this kind of institutions in Nigeria and, indeed, that’s what Africa needs. Africa, at this point, needs the opportunity for them to reconstruct their own story, and tell a story that represents the true virility of Africa; to create an opportunity where Africa’s infrastructure is constructed by Africans. And that’s why we young leaders, who have taken over the mantle of leadership are now focusing on recreating the image and impression of that black man.
Reasoning further, Governor Ayade added that he “believe that there is no shame in learning. We see CBIE as a good partners to learn and study Canada because, Canada has proven to be a world class brand, that’s why we are associating with Canada and we are hoping that we are going to expand the horizon of this relationship to add into the scope, concept like agriculture, concept like food processing, teachers’ training and a lot more will come, but we are starting with this options. We hope that we have a good reason to receive you in Nigeria very soon and your entire team”, Ayade concluded.
Collaborating what the governor, Senator Ayade has said, the state Commissioner for Education, Hon. Godwin Ettah who accompanied Governor Ayade on the trip to Canada and witnessed the signing of the MoU at Ottawa, Canada explained that Cross River partnership with Canada is consciously raise the educational bar of the state to provide solid education foundation for Cross Riverians as well as attract students from other parts of the country to the standard facilities of Cross River.
Hon. Ettah further explained that Governor Ayade deliberately decided that the state should partner Canada as a result of the global rating of that country as the best in term of education standard and facilities, and that due to this positive data concerning Canada, governor Ayade is in a hurry to replicate the Canadian standard in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
“The essence of the trip is to partner the Canadian Bureau for International Education to establish a Canadian International School, comprising primary, secondary and tertiary institution in the state. Our intention is to bring the highest standard of education that Canada is known for to Cross River State such that the state will become a hub for standardized educational training. The governor’s presence attracted all the stakeholders in education in Canada who rallied round him by demonstrating their willingness to partner the state in actualizing the dream of setting up a world class institution in Cross River”.
Giving further insight to the benefits of the education pact with Canada, Hon. Ettah asserted that “This MoU is to enable the takeoff of a Canadian International school to provide learning facilities for primary, secondary and a tertiary institution in Calabar. By July 16, 2016, the technical team including architects from Canada will be in the state to give muscle to the MoU that has been signed as they will commence the need assessment process for a suitable site for the school”, adding that “the trip was a step in the right direction and I am convinced that this will boost the economy of the state in addition to changing the educational status of the state and country at large. When established, it is expected that it will attract people from all across the country and even beyond because it is going to be first class”, while calling on Cross Riverians to stand by Governor Ayade as he meant well for the overall development of the state.
Canada is also reported to have the highest proportion of persons of 25 to 64 year olds with tertiary education among Organization for Economic Development (OECD) countries with the highest proportion of college graduates (25%), as reported by OECD education report at a glance, 2013. In the same vein, a greater percentage of Canadians (57 percent of 25 to 35 year old) are reported to have tertiary education, thereby providing significant protection against unemployment; just as the amount spend per primary pupil is said to be 8, 933 US Dollar, secondary, 9, 774 US Dollar and tertiary student is 22, 475 US Dollar in that order, thereby making it higher than averages for the OECD as well as European countries.
By the signing of the recent MoU with CBIE in Canada by governor Ayade, it is clear that the short term desire of the governor is to bring down to the state’s formal and informal education system the standard of Canada education and in the long term become the best in terms of standard, funding, with the highest number of educated (formal and informal) in not just south south, Nigerian and Africa but the entire world.
It is an ambitious but an achievable goal that will equally turn Cross River to an education tourism state with the prospect of raking extra cash from it. We should all support it for our good and the future of our up-springs.
SOLOMON ASHA, IS SPECIAL ASSISTANT ON MEDIA/PUBLICITY TO GOVERNOR AYADE OF CROSS RIVER STATE.
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