Governor of Enugu State, Barr Peter Mbah says his administration is to spend 30 per cent of the 2024 state budget on the education section sector, stressing that education remains the state’s greatest weapon against poverty.
Mbah stressed his administration’s determination to ensure that the poorest child in the remotest parts of Enugu State receives world class education using tools of the 21st century.
The Governor made the declarations in his keynote address at the 19th convocation of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Agbani, on Saturday, where 9,017 graduands received various first and higher degrees.
Mbah, who is also a visitor to the University, said the most radical changes in education under his administration would take place in the area of basic education.
“In my view, education is probably our greatest weapon in our war against poverty in the medium to long run.
“It is for this reason that education is at the core of the strategy, which we envisage will see us boost our GDP from the current levels of about $4.4 billion to at least $30 billion by the end of 2031.
“This is why we have designed and are implementing a most revolutionary strategy to revamp the current educational system. This revamp will be extensive and exhaustive, ranging from the basic schools through secondary to tertiary institutions like ESUT.
“There will be changes not only in the curricula, but also in the models for delivering knowledge in our educational institutions. The most radical change will take place in our basic schools where our children spend the first nine years of schooling.
“Therefore, in 2024, we will be spending close to 30 per cent of our state budget on education, well above the recommended international benchmark”, the Governor said.
Mbah said his administration had completed the construction of one smart school, awarded contract for the construction of another nine, while 250 more would be constructed in less than 14 months to cover the entire 260 wards, adding that teachers for the pilot model school were already undergoing training by global experts.
“These smart schools will each be equipped with internet access, solar power, a centre for robotics and artificial intelligence, a modern ICT centre, two well-equipped laboratories for primary school and junior secondary school, a studio for creative production, 25 inclusive classrooms, with interactive digital whiteboards, android tablets for pupils’ use, among others”, he explained.
He commended the ESUT management for some steps already being taken to align with government’s vision for tertiary education in the state.
Speaking, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Alloysius-Michaels Okolie, commended Mbah for the laudable vision for education in the state and great support to ESUT since the governor’s assumption of office.
He said the ESUT management was repositioning the institution in line with the governor’s educational vision and policies.
The convocation also saw the conferment of honorary doctorate degrees on some distinguished Nigerians, including the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Osagie Okunbor, Group Managing Director of Afrivest West Africa Ltd, Ike Chioke, the foremost estate developer, Surv Ugochukwu Chime, and recognitions and cash awards to outstanding students, led by the best graduating student, Miss Barbara Ijeoma Ikeonyia.