Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that his administration is committed to creating access to basic education for rural and oceanic communities of the state.
Speaking during a Courtesy Visit by the World Bank Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) on Thursday, Governor Wike said that the State Government embarked on the reconstruction and furnishing of rural schools to encourage parents to send their children to school.
He said: "In the last four years, we have reconstructed and furnished 253 Basic Schools in the state. These schools are located mainly in the rural and oceanic areas.
"We reconstructed and furnished these schools to give our children access to quality education".
Governor Wike explained that his administration abolished every form of fees in primary, junior and secondary schools to encourage parents to educate their children.
"I have abolished every form of payment in primary, junior and senior Secondary Schools because many parents are poor and they cannot afford these payments.
"We have taken the burden away from them so that poor parents can conveniently send their children to school ", he said.
The Governor informed that the State Government has approved the employment of 10, 000 teachers to boost the quality of education.
He added that the State Government through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has trained over 3000 teachers.
"Basic Education is key to the development of the state. SUBEB is awarding contracts for the furnishing of schools slated for 2018. After that of 2018, we will award 2019 contracts for the furnishing of schools.
"We are expecting more enrolments in schools, with the investments and progress that we have made", he said.
He said that there are 1315 Basic Education Schools in Rivers State, pointing out that the State Government is working hard to transform the schools through phased interventions.
"Our state has completed and accessed all our grants from the Universal Basic Education Commission. We are up to date in the funding of basic education programmes. Part of the problem of Universal Basic Education is the inability of states to access matching grants. We have accessed these matching grants and we are using same to develop the basic education sector ", Governor Wike said.
The Former Minister of State for Education lauded the World Bank Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) for taking concrete steps to enhance access to education. He assured that the Rivers State Government will cooperate with the agency to achieve better results.
Earlier, National Programme Coordinator, World Bank Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), Prof Gidado Tahir said that they were in Rivers State to interact with officials of the State Government to improve access to Basic education.
He said that the size of the challenge in Rivers State is manageable because of the quality investments made by Governor Wike.
He said: "You have been part of this process. Talking to you is like speaking with the converted. The money for this programme is there to be accessed.
"We are looking forward to a wonderful collaboration with the Rivers State Government to achieve the required success ".