The Bayelsa Government on Friday said it has injected about N33 billion into the education sector in the past five years.
The government also announced that it would institute a merit award for deserving teachers as part of efforts to consolidate on the investments in the education sector.
Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa announced these when he hosted principals and vice principals of secondary schools to a state dinner at the Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa.
Dickson explained that the annual award would take off next year for deserving heads of primary and secondary schools.
He said the proposed awards will also reward administrators in public schools, who distinguish themselves in their various disciplines.
The governor charged teachers to see their jobs as a sacred calling to nurture young destinies to fruition.
While urging the principals and their deputies to key into government’s vision for the education sector, Dickson described them as the fulcrum that would drive the process.
The governor, who noted that the problem of education in the state was monumental, expressed optimism that with the implementation of programmes and projects in the sector, the vision for the development of the sector would be realised.
According to Dickson, the newly built eight model schools have received facilities and urged all stakeholders in the education sector to sustain the current achievements, as education is crucial to driving the development of a people.
“The results of the West African Senior School Certificate and other examinations are indications that the investment in the sector are paying off and this is also due to the commitment of the principals and the teachers.
“This interaction is a new beginning for the education sector. My dream is to provide resources to ensure that the vision for education goes smoothly, as principals and vice principals, you are to drive the process.
“Facilities and equipment for the new model schools have been received by the schools and it is also very important to sustain the current achievements, because as critical stakeholders, you must key into the vision or else the achievements and vision for the sector will not work.
“As education is what drives the development of a people.
“The Government appreciates what you are doing. Let me tell you that the government, which does not respect teachers, does not respect the future.
“Teachers act as guide to the future of pupils and students, because they teach, guide, counsel and create roadmap for the future of a nation,” Dickson said.
The governor further disclosed that, beginning from next year, the government would kick-start a programme for the training and re-training of teachers, as it was critical for updating the knowledge of teachers in their various areas of discipline.
The state Commissioner for Education, Deacon Markson Fefegha, explained that Dickson on assumption of duty as governor in 2012, declared a state of emergency in education, given the falling standard of education and infrastructural decay in the state.
Fefegha said that provision of a school for teaching and learning of Ijaw language at Kaiama in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area as well as provision of over 14,000 school uniforms and the relocation of BDGS to its original site were among achievements of the administration.
Speaking earlier, President of the Association of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools in the state, Mr Abbey Ayibaemi, expressed gratitude to the governor for hosting them and fulfilling his promise to prioritise payment of teachers’ salary.