Edo Children: A priority for Governor Obaseki -SUBEB
Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) marks the 2018 Children’s day by reflecting on the progress that has been made so far by the administration of Governor Godwin Enogheghase Obaseki to create an enabling environment for Edo state’s children to thrive. According to the Acting Chairman of SUBEB, Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, “thanks to the priority given to the psychosocial well-being of every child, Edo state’s children are now poised to be ahead of the curve in every indexes of child development in Nigeria.”
The theme of this year’s Children’s Day celebration which is Creating Safe Spaces for Children: Our Collective Responsibility “is quite apropos, particularly in Edo state where Mr. Governor has become a champion of issues affecting children” the SUBEB boss opines.
Governor Obaseki has taken decisive steps to transform the lives of children in Edo state by re-enacting basic education in the state. This vision for improving the quality of public school education gave birth to the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) which was formally launched on April 19th, 2018 with the training of over 2000 teachers and head teachers and equipping them with digital devices and smart phones to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
Other pro-children initiatives in the basic education sub-sector include: introduction of Education Marshalls, who will, starting from the next academic session be tasked with arresting parents whose children are found loitering or hawking in the streets during school hours. Education Marshalls will be stationed in every local government area of the state. Strengthening and implementing the Child Rights’ Law to ensure that all forms of abuse against children, particularly orphans and vulnerable children (house helps) in the state are eliminated and that parents, guardians and society are awake to their responsibilities as it concerns the wellbeing of every child.
The abolishment of corporal punishment in public primary schools in line with the vision of creating safe and nurturing spaces for pupils in schools, according to Dr. Oviawe, “we have made a distinction between disciplining and abusing pupils. Instead of flogging, we reward good behavior through the tool of the character board that is now in every Edo Best classroom. At the end of the day, the character board will have names of pupils who were punctual to school that day, who behaved well in class while the teacher was teaching, who assisted their classmates, etc. you find that every child now works hard to be recognized and be cheered by their classmates. There are different types of cheers: “love cheer,” “marvelous cheer,” “best cheer,” among others. Edo-BEST teachers have been taught disciplining strategies to effectively manage pupils who are disruptive or have behavioral issues”
Following the mandate given them by Governor Obaseki to re-enact basic education in the State, SUBEB has redefined what the standard public primary school in Edo state should be like to engender a conducive, safe and nurturing environment for teaching and learning. Each public primary school is to have the following: perimeter fencing, adequate furniture for pupils and teachers, electricity, books, playground, mini-library in each classroom, computer lab, water, hygienic toilet facilities and more.
In response to the alarming occurrences of child sexual abuse, Governor Obaseki setup an inter-ministerial committee to examine the issue and outline concrete steps for rapid response in addressing child sexual abuse.
According to Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, SUBEB was restructured precisely to be able to deliver on Governor Godwin Obaseki’s mandate for basic education. She says “we are doing this in multiple ways, but most importantly, we follow-through on every task. We have launched registration of pupils. Head teachers in the Edo BEST pilot schools have been trained on how to create an electronic profile for each child. Every child is undergoing registration, using the smart phones they were given, the head teacher takes a picture of the child, records the vital information: name, date of birth, name and phone number of parents and guardians, etc. the idea is to create a record for every child in our public schools, so that when a child transfers to another school, their electronic file will go with them. Also, to enable the school to communicate directly with parents. We did a beta testing recently by sending a text message to parents in a particular school, surprised parents thronged the school to find out what was going on. They had never received a text message about their children before.”
Without equivocation, Governor Obaseki is pro-children and his programs and policies ensure that from cradle to adulthood, Edo state children turn out to be the best that they can be.