The Bayelsa state government has dismissed as erroneous and “case of wrong data” the claim that over 362,000 cases of school drop outs are recorded yearly, saying the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson has reduced the rate of drop outs from school from 362,000 to 36,000 in 2018.
According to the state government through the ministry of education and the State universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), the reduction from 77 per cent to 10 per cent of school drop outs under the present administration was achieved with a declaration of state of emergency on the education sector with the massive construction of new school buildings and renovation of dilapidated ones, hence in 2018, the state recorded a total number of 547 public primary schools and 194 public secondary schools.
The Executive Secretary of SUBEB, Bayelsa state, Comrade Walton Liverpool, in a statement issued, explained that though the reported claim of 362 ,000 annual school drop outs in the state was quoted from available data of past administrations.
He said: “The current total of out of school children in Bayelsa state is 36, 483, which is approximately 10% and not 77% as was erroneously captured in an earlier publication”
“This is owing to the fact that, the state had moved far beyond what it was, after the restoration government led by Governor Seriake Dickson assumed office and declared a state of emergency in the education sector.
“It is a well-known fact that, the declaration brought about the massive construction of new school buildings and renovation of dilapidated ones, hence in 2018, the state recorded a total number of 547 public primary schools and 194 public secondary schools. While the total number of private primary and secondary schools rose to 844. This is unprecedented in the annals of education in our state
“We are all aware that before the coming of the Honourable Seriake Dickson led Restoration administration, our children were always seen roaming the streets during school hours, while some were seen hawking and this accounted for the low enrolment level at the time, the story has since changed.
“With the introduction of free and compulsory education in the state, including free boarding in our model boarding secondary schools in all the 8 LGAs, the free distribution of school uniforms, sandals, text/note books and other educational materials, Bayelsa has since moved away from this rather worrisome situation.
“Furthermore, the establishment of the Sports Academy, Asoama and the premier Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, education in the state has taken a major leap, which has been made evident with our outstanding performance in external examinations like Jamb, WAEC and NECO.
“Bayelsa has also become a force to be reckoned with in national and international arts and science competitions, as the state has been very consistent in winning laurels.”
“In terms of infrastructure, the Education Sector has since 2013, recorded over 439 ongoing projects, with 266 completed and put into use. These include; Administrative blocks, Auditoriums, Classroom blocks, ICT and Libraries, Science blocks, Principal and Vice Principal Quarters and Hostels.”
“Others are; Headmasters quarters, concrete and access roads, fences, gate houses, pavilions, sick-bays and Hostels, amongst others.”
“Between 2016 and 2017, the State had an enrolment figure of 97,192 students in Public Primary schools, 86,710 in the Secondary Schools, while the Private Primary schools had 29,342 students and 10,565 students in the Secondary cadre, which is about 82%.”
“Let me emphasize here again that, with all that the Governor Seriake Dickson led Bayelsa State government has put on ground in the Education sector, there is hardly a home or family in the State, that has not keyed into the vision of “Operation every child must be in school” and we want to use this medium to assure Bayelsans and the rest of the world that, before the end of 2019, we would have achieve our target record of 0% out of school children.”
“Let me equally use this opportunity to restate the commitment of this administration to the education sector and our unflinching resolve to continue to invest in the sector, especially the formative stages of primary and secondary levels.”