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Udom: Dakaada to where?

23 May 2016, 14:19 Samuel Ufot Ekekere

This may seem like another work of your critics, but it’s not. I’ve watched with keen interest at how you are pushing your “dakaada” agenda. It is immensely gratifying that at least you are thinking in the direction of developing entrepreneurship and creative thinking. Akwaibomites always hoped that one day its huge human potentials would be tapped bringing about the much needed development of the state. Thank God you came and have seen in that direction.

I am a keen supporter of your “dakaada” philosophy, though I’ve not benefited yet. I love your creed. It is worthy of note that you placed God first. You have since assumption of office preached that it’s time we don’t wait on the state to do for us what we can do for her. I agree totally. However I’ve had real fears about your desire to change the landscape of the state from the reality of your actions.

Don’t get me wrong, you have made impacts in different sectors of the state’s economy. You will certainly be celebrated for your achievements in the coming years. I appreciate your purposefulness at creating the AkwaIbom Entrepreneurship and Employment Scheme AKEES. It’s a good creation especially in a state as ours with creative minds yearning for the right atmosphere and support to pursue their dreams. You support small startups with the hope that with time, the right knowledge and investments, they could become big chip companies someday.

I write from the streets, I’ve roamed in our cities and I’ve strayed across our countryside. I can certainly assure you of the immense gratitude that many will give you when you leave office if your programs continue to make the type of impact I hear it is making.

Is there any rule stating that there should not be startups in the education sector? I have heard in certain quarters about your purported plan to close down all private schools not duly approved by the government. I presume it will be against your dakaada initiative to tow this path.

Mr. Governor, you are very creative. What value will you add to the economy by closing these schools? None. You will only be sending hundreds of thousands of young people who depend on these schools to the densely populated unemployment market that you are trying to find solution to. You will also be sending some to their early graves.

Some of the big private schools we celebrate today started as small schools. They were once unapproved but they developed capacity over time and are today household names. We are aware politicians are seizing on this market and are investing heavily into private institutions, but not everyone has the finance to push into their projects like the politicians.

Some of these schools you hope to shut down are in certain levels in pursuit of their big dreams, to be approved by government. They started out as under-tree lessons, then to one room, and then progressively. I am certain they did not start where they currently are and they will not end there. You will be killing progressive dreams with this policy.

Mr. Governor, the problem with education in the state isn’t one caused by the private schools. It is actually the failure of government institutions of learning that have triggered the rise of these schools. And sincerely, these schools do better than their government counterparts because they have pedigree, trust and business to protect. Government schools have nothing to protect. Teachers in Government institutions are often lackadaisical except for a few God fearing ones.

Our government institutions are hardly ever supervised as compare to the private institutions where government inspectors and supervisors visit often because of the financial gain accrued from the intimidation meted on these schools because they are not duly approved. It is remarkable the type of efforts being put by these private proprietors who hardly make profit at the end of the school year because of the cost of keeping the schools going.

My personal findings have revealed that these schools have become the immediate succor of at least 70% of graduates who can’t get the big white collar job. Parents also find them as a better option than the free education offered by government because of the quality that they offer at a fare cost. The fact that the schools do not have the resources to attain approval status does not mean their standards are anyway lower than what government institutions offer.

This is not the right time to clamp down on these schools. The dakaada philosopher needs them now than ever. Just as you are working at developing entrepreneurs through AKEES, the managers of these schools are also entrepreneurs. They need support. Government can offer advisory activities that can help these schools meet up with the expectations of government as well as pay the dues and tax expected by the government for the development of the state.

It is great that the government is trying to standardize the education system of our state. Education is the platform for proactive greatness. No proprietor wants his school unapproved, but they can’t help it because they have to work within their means.

I suggest that the government enacts a 3 strata approval system with a fixed frame of time for which the approval holds which could be lost if the school don’t get the next level of approval. The current system while great, allows only those with so much capital to undertake the process of approval.

Rather than intimidating these schools, the government should develop a platform of contact. The Ministry of Education should from time to time interact with these schools through seminars to help them become proficient in their book keeping and to guide them through the process of approval. Many of these schools are often afraid to show their faces at events because they fear they may risk being run down by government officials. Government should welcome them with open hands and encourage them to build their enterprise to the level the state yearns to have her academic institutions at.

It is my hope that in few years the state will be an academic destination of choice.

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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