The Benue State Government spent N16 billion to renovate and upgrade its primary and secondary schools in the last four years, according to Prof Dennis Ityavyar, former education commissioner.
Ityavyar, while handing over to the ministry’s permanent secretary Elizabeth Ede, on Monday in Makurdi, explained that N9.6billion was sunk into renovating and equipping primary schools while N6.4 billion went into renovating and upgrading secondary schools.
He explained that emphasis was placed on primary education to build a strong basic education foundation for the young ones.
Ityavyar also disclosed that the ministry ensured the signing into law of the Benue Education Pension Law to protect the welfare of workers after retirement.
He further said that the ministry was also restructured and equipped to become the biggest ministry in the state with 10 directorates.
“We have done our best, we have laid the foundations for good educational policies and learning environment.
“We have also introduced Tiv and Idoma languages in the secondary schools curriculum while the Colleges of Education have been directed to start offering courses in the said languages.
The former commissioner said that some of the 2,000 illegal schools closed down may never be reopened as no sensible government would allow people to operate such substandard schools.
“We have performed well in the area of ensuring quality monitoring in schools which resulted in the closure of 2,000 illegal schools. Many of them will never be reopened. Some of them operate within beer joints while many are critically substandard,” he said.
He said, however, that his biggest challenge was the paucity of funds because “some schools were really in bad shape and needed to be renovated”.
“I once cried while inspecting some secondary schools within the state. I was shocked and cried endlessly when I visited Government Secondary School, Kornya in Konshisha. That school is really in bad shape,” he said.
The former commissioner said that the ministry also demoted some principals while others were queried over examination malpractice
In his response, Ede commended the outgoing commissioner for his dedication to duty, saying that the ministry would always reach out to tap from his vast experience.
Also speaking, Director, Special Education, Chief Mrs. Reginal Nyitar, appreciated Ityavyar for ensuring that all the ministry’s staff were computer literate and for the “overall revolutionary changes within the sector”.