Friday, 14 February 2020

Gov. Ayade: Transforming the face OF Basic Education in CRS

By Uchino Amatey

It is no longer news that the Cross River State Government under the able leadership of Governor Ben Ayade, is currently building a world class model Junior Secondary School, in Obudu Local Government Area of the State called: The BRITISH - CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL,the first of its kind in Nigeria.

The school, which will be a cynosure of all eyes upon completion due to its massive infrastructure, including a 3-Storey building cpmprising 18 classrooms, Male and Female hostels of 40 rooms each, an Administration/Assembly building, a Clinic, Laboratory, Library, Dining hall, Staff accommodation, Sporting facilities (football, basketball, volleyball, hockey, table tennis and hand ball courts etc) gate house, police post, amongst others, and fully furnished with state-of-the-art-facilities.

One of the contractors who worked on the project, Architect Henry Arinze said "from what I have learnt,this is the biggest Secondary School in the Country, there is no Secondary School that has thirty-one buildings in the Country. The facilities we have here is enough to start a University. I have been in Consultancy for twenty-seven years, and I have not seen a college this big, this is the biggest and the best."

This is not surprising, because anyone who knows Prof. Ben Ayade knows that his fast thinking, analytical pace is unmatched and his deep vision for Cross River State has led to great ideas and projects which to 'mere mortals' may seem impossible to achieve, but not Governor Ayade. His continuous strive to always deliver the best in terms of service delivery to Cross riverians and his unrepentant knack to improve the education sector, by providing access to quality education is driving the actualization of the British- Canadian International School.

One of the most interesting features of this school is that students will get all round development, not just a formal education. Also, as part of its collaborative efforts, the School which is fashioned in line with the British and Canadian standard of education will engage foreign professionals to provide a blend of sophisticated curricular.

This was clearly stated by the Executive Chairman, Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Stephen Odey, when he said "there is going to be collaboration, the type of teachers we are going to have here, they are not going to be only teachers within the locality, we are bringing in foreign teachers. The concept is that the school will not only be for formal education, as part of extra-curricular activities, students will learn music and engage in other activities.

Recreation is also very important, those things we have not seen in Cross River State are the things we will see in Cross River State will take a different dimension."

The choice of location for the school is another important factor; remember, Cross River State is known as a tourism State with many towering tourism offerrings aside the Carnival Calabar. Some of which include, the Kwa falls in Akamkpa, Marina Resort in Calabar, Agbokim Waterfalls in Etung, Obudu Mountain Resort in Obudu, amongst others.

Since the school is of international standard and not meant for Cross Riverians and Nigerians alone, it became pertinent to link the State tourism potentials with Education so that students and parents/guardians from outside Cross River can have a wholesome experience, when coming into the State. So the choice of Obudu was to take advantage of its tourism potential and its conducive environment.

Today, the world is technologically driven and those who will not join the train will be left behind. The infusion of digital trends in education is key to aid better learning and teaching experience for both students and teachers. In recognition of this, and as part of efforts to enhance effective teaching and learning using 21st century teaching/ learning tools, Interactive white boards will be installed in all the Classrooms, as well as 24hours internet connectivity in the Library.

Anyone who wants quality education in line with global best practices should look up to the British-Canadian International School upon its completion. The Board is doing all it can to ensure that the project is completed and academic activities commence in September, 2020.

Before the emergence of this present administration, Cross River State was listed among the least performing States in the basic education sector, owing to a number of reasons, such as unaccessed UBE grants.

Today, the story is different, backlog of grants have been accessed, newly constructed/rehabilitated classroom blocks are being littered across the State, sick bays are being built in Primary Schools, computers and solar powered panels are being supplied to schools. Quality of teaching has improved due to the intense personnel audit conducted by the Board and training/re-training of teachers, recreational facilities and sporting equipment have been supplied to schools, the list is endless.

With all these innovations in the basic education sector there is no denying the fact that CROSS RIVER SUBEB is indeed charting a new course for basic education not only in the State, but in the entire Nigeria.