By Our Reporter
The Federal House of Representatives committee on basic education has commended the strides of Cross River Governor; Senator Benedict Ayade in the basic education sub-sector which it says has set the state on the right path in the improvement of the standard of education.
The Chairman of the committee, Honorable Istifanus Dung Gyang stated this in Calabar when he led the committee on an oversight function of projects and activities of the State Universal Basic Education Board (CRSUBEB) in a bid to ensure proper implementation of government programs and promote accountability.
“We appreciate the passion of the governor in being up to date in accessing the matching grants and deploying funds appropriately, some states are in arrears of over 2-4years, but what we have seen in Cross River State is different. We are impressed with what we have seen on ground, the standard of work is something that is commendable and exemplary. We have seen the investment in infrastructure, we have seen the customized plastic tables and chairs, the environment is conducive for learning, so we urge you to do more to develop the capacity of your teachers to enable them live up to their responsibilities,” Mr. Gyang said and pointed out that this was an “opportunity to evaluate programs and projects performance implementation to check waste and ensure cost effectiveness.”
He continued: “We are here to see what Cross River State has done so far with the counterpart funds you have assessed and to see how we can assist you to do more,” and pointed out that the counterpart fund paid by the state, “goes to demonstrate the passion governor Ben Ayade has for basic eduction sub-sector.”
CRSUBEB Chairman, Dr. Stephen Odey in his response outlined steps taken by the board to achieve positive results in the state.
“We came on board to take charge of this office based on the fact that governor Ben Ayade who is very passionate about education charged us to leave no stone unturned in improving basic education sector, when we came on board on October 12th, 2015 we discovered that Cross River State was unable to access its matching grant from 2012-2015, without hesitation His Excellency released funds to the Board and we were able to access the backlog of 2012-2015 matching grant.
“Consequently, 237 projects were awarded in December 2016, 27 of those projects have been completed and handed over to the Board, 51,600 customized plastic tables and chairs have also been purchased and distributed, we have also tried to phase out the use of chalk boards by introducing magnetic boards through the purchase of 778 magnetic boards.
“In order to boost our project monitoring team, we have been able to purchase 4 Hilux vehicles and 1 Prado jeep to enable us monitor projects. We are also working on a world class British-Canadian International Model School in Obudu and the groundbreaking ceremony will be done by the governor and the Executive Secretary of UBEC soon,” Mr. Odey said and pointed out that capacity building and staff welfare have been a priority also.
He said the personnel audit exercise, which led to the discovery of about eight hundred and eighty-eight (888) ghost workers and about one thousand, one hundred and twenty-five (1,125) teachers with fake certificates who have been demoted accordingly was aimed at improving the standard of academics.
Some of the project sites visited include; Community Technical College, Ikot Effanga, Calabar Municipality, Army primary school , Akamkpa, Government Primary School, Odot Uyi, Odukpani, Government Primary school, Hawkins, Calabar south.
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