Governor David Umahi has sworn to take advantage of the World Bank Assisted Better Education Service Delivery for All Programme of the Federal Government to erase Ebonyi from the list of educationally disadvantaged State.
The Governor made the vow in Abakaliki on Monday during the official launching of the BESDA programme in the State.
Umahi who lamented that the State had maintained 10th position in both the WAEC and NECO Senior School Certificate examinations in the past three years, maintained that his target was to make the State clinch the overall first in the country.
He prescribed that the best way to preserve the future of the country was to safeguard the future of the children through education, adding that the level of insecurity in the country was aggravated by illiteracy.
The Governor who seized the occasion to further condemn the recent attack on former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu by suspected IPOB members in Germany blamed their actions on their level of education.
He emphasized that IPOB members would not have resorted to such line of action if they were gainfully educated.
Umahi said: “If these IPOB members were educated people, they wouldn’t have done what they did.
“And so, it is lack of education.
“Lack of education breeds frustration, and that is a clear case of what happened.
“So as we make efforts today to bring back these children who would be attacking us in England or in America tomorrow, we should know that there is slogan in our State that every child is your child, whether your biological child or not.
“We should know that the only way to safeguard your future and the future of your children and to have a peaceful evening is to also safeguard the future of these out of school children.
“We have set strategies towards getting the State to where we should be the first position in the country.”
The BESDA national coordinator, Professor Gidado Tahir explained that the programme’s operation was funded by the Federal Government through a credit it obtained from the World Bank which is given as grants to selected States in line with the Federal Ministry of Education national strategic plan.
He stressed that the approach places greater emphasis on obtaining result as a pre-condition for obtaining the support fund from the Federal government.
Others who spoke at the event, including the Executive Secretary of BESDA, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi; the State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Stephen Odo and the chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Chief Hyacinth Ikpor praised Governor Umahi’s political will and commitment to education in the State which had already started paying off.
Bobboyi explained that Ebonyi State was chosen as one of the 17 States identified as having a high rate of out -of -school children based on the 2015 Nigeria Education Data Survey; the only State in the South East out of the 5 pilot States for the programme
He described the rate of out-of-school children in the country as alarming, adding that with the rate of Nigeria population growth, there was the need to prepare ahead of time for the challenge it would bring.
Dr. Tunde Adokoka who represented the World Bank Country Representative, Rachid Benmessaud, admonished the government and people of the State to see the programme as theirs, deserving their utmost attention, commitment and cooperation.