The Federal Capital Territory Administration has committed over N9.6 billion on Education development projects in the FCT in 2017, Secretary, FCT Education Secretariat, Senator Isah Maina has indicated.
Maina who made this known on Wednesday, December 20, during the 11th Annual Media Luncheon of the Secretariat, said education-related projects worth N2.8 billion have been completed while projects worth nearly N4billion were awarded and would be completed in a few months’ time.
The Education Secretary also revealed that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello within the run of his administration approved the payment of the sum of N2.8 billion for counterpart projects between the FCTA and international partners.
Some of the projects already completed and paid for by the Education Secretariat, Maina explained, are the construction and rehabilitation of over 400 primary and junior classroom blocks across the territory, fencing of 3 secondary schools, furnishing of classrooms, offices, transit and staff quarters at Abuja University of Technology, Abaji, and provision of laptop computers to secondary schools in Kuje and Jabi among others.
Other projects worth N3.8 billion that were awarded and awaiting completion are, the furnishing and equipping of science laboratories at GGSS Kuje and GGSS Abaji for computer based exam (CBE) Centre, ITVI, Utako, supply of laptop computers for students.
Under the counterpart projects, Senator disclosed that the FCT Minister authorized the release of the sum of N2.8 billion counterpart funds, which enabled the administration to access the UBE funds, including the unpaid arrears of 2014 for the Teachers Professional Development (TPD) fund. This, he said, brought the FCT up to date in its financial obligations to UBEC having paid till 2016.
To give brilliant but indigent students in the FCT opportunity to excel in their educational pursuit, the Administration approved the disbursement of N96 million under the FCT Education Assistance Scheme to clear the backlog of 5,450 students that applied for scholarships for the 2015 award season, which will commence after a pre-disbursement audit of the applicants soon. Similarly, the school feeding has been carried upward from N200 to N300 per student per day, to improve the quantity and quality of food for students in the boarding schools.
School heads in the FCT Maina revealed, have also been given the opportunity of rising to the position of grade level 17 as is the case in the federal ministries and some states across the country, adding that the FCT Administration has designated 20 schools as Grade A schools and their principals can now rise to the position of grade level 17 officers.
In addition, 2,981 teachers, supervisors and quality assurance officers were trained, using the assessed UBE Teacher Professional Development Training (TPDT) funds.
He said the Board also carried out cluster sensitization of 1000 primary and junior secondary teachers while 50 junior secondary schools teachers were trained on entrepreneurial skills.
In the same vein some 100 other primary and secondary school teachers were trained on the use of Classmate Computers for e-learning while 200 Quality Assurance Officers conducted local training for 1,400 teachers under the strengthening Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE) programme to ensure that teachers have the required skills to function as 21st century science and mathematics teachers.
The harvest of these investments, Maina said, has been a gradual but steady rise in the cumulative performance of FCT students in mathematics, especially both in WAEC and NECO Exams from 2015 till date, adding that this year’s performance in Mathematics is far more impressive than the previous years.
Other mileages recorded by the Administration so far include adherence to highest standards by public and private schools in the FCT. Consequently, the Department of Quality Assurance followed up with visits to 550 illegal and substandard private schools shut down last year to ensure that they comply with the order not to reopen until the minimum standards are met. A total sum of N34 million was accrued from the screening of private schools,” Maina stated.
The FCT, he said, “won a total of 10 trophies, 14 medals, cash award and science kits at the 2017 National JETS Competition held in March, 2017 in Lagos State, while GTC Garki also came 2nd at the National Inter-School Space Competition held at NSPRA, Abuja, with a cash prize of N300,000.
“At the 10th Anniversary of African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, GSSS Pyakassa came 1st on Quiz competition with the cash award of N100,000.
“In the 2017 STAN National Competition held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State from 14th to 19th August, FCT emerged overall best in the primary school category. Science primary school Kuje emerged best with a project titled, “Blast funnel for the production of Eco friendly interlocks using Poly-ethne bags while JSS Orozo emerged overall best in the Free Choice projects,” Senator Maina stated.
The Secretary also noted that there has been an upward trajectory in enrolment for adult and non-formal education in the various centrs of the Mass Education Department across the FCT. He said a total of 13,965 learners were enrolled across the 6 Area Councils while 500 competent part-time teachers were recruited to augment the efforts of the full time facilitators.
While explaining some of the challenges that confronted Education Secretariat during the period under review, Senator Maina said the economic recession from which the country had just emerged, coupled with the late release of the 2017 FCT appropriation, definitely took their toll the Secretariat’s ability to met some of its objectives.
He added however the Secretariat was able to satisfactorily deliver on its core mandate which is the impartation of knowledge and provision of other educational services to the people of the FCT despite these challenges.