By Gbenga Sodeinde, Senior Correspondent, Ado-Ekiti
Through two of its agencies – the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Federal Ministry of Education the Federal Government on Thursday scored the Ekiti State Government high on the provision of a mega Early Childhood Development Centre for infants.
The ratings came from the Acting Executive Secretary of UBEC, Education Department, Prof Charles Onocha; and the Director of Basic and Secondary Education Department, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. D.C. Uwaezuole; at Thursday’s inauguration of the Early Childhood Development Education Centre, in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Those who witnessed the inauguration, which was performed by Governor Kayode Fayemi included: the governor’s wife, Bisi; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Adewale Omirin; state Head of Service, Mr. Bunmi Famosaya; Secretary to the State Governor (SSG), Alhaji Ganiyu Owolabi; and the Olori Abosede Adejugbe, the wife of Ado-Ekiti monarch, Oba Rufus Adejugbe.
The duo, who urged Governor Kayode Fayemi to introduce the project to his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), using the State Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM) platform, spoke respectively in their goodwill messages read by Prof Rasheed Aderinoye and Mrs Sherifat Adaba.
The SPRM was designed by the NGF to encourage good governance and accelerate development in the states through periodic reviews of progress on policies, plans and programmes. It also affords state governors the opportunity of sharing experiences and reinforcing commendable and innovative practices.
In her opening remark, the state Deputy Governor, Prof Modupe Adelabu, who doubles as the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), described the commitment of the state government at laying solid foundation for quality education to shape the future of children as a fait accompli.
She explained that the refurbishment of schools and the provision of furniture were parts of the efforts being made by the Governor Fayemi-led administration to improve the pupil enrolment in public primary and secondary schools.
According to her, the priority given to education of the administration has been clearly spelt out as Agenda 4 (Education and Human Capital Development) on the scale of Eight-Point Agenda.
Her words: “This Early Childhood Development Education Mega Centre is another effort that will ensure the achievement of this goal because the children brought up in the centre will invariable graduate to the government primary school that is already built close to the centre.”
Besides, she said the centre also give succour to civil servants who are nursing mothers and are within or near the secretariat complex as they could put their babies there on resumption of work in the morning and pick them up at the close of work every day.
Delivering UBEC’s Acting Executive Secretary’s message, Prof. Aderinoye described the establishment of the centre by the government as a landmark in the history of education in the state and in Nigeria.
He described the feat as a strategic effort being made by the administration to translate policy in action, even as he commended the Ekiti SUBEB for compliance with the UBEC policy.
The UBEC chief also lauded the Governor for his support for the board which has made SUBEB a pacesetter and role model for other states in early childhood development education.
His words: “The commissioning of this Mega ECD Centre today is noteworthy as Ekiti State and SUBEB in particular have complied with this UBEC policy. In addition, the occasion also shows the commitment of His Excellency, Governor Kayode Fayemi and his able deputy, whom I understand still oversees the affairs of the State Universal Education Board, to basic education, early development and stimulation of children in Ekiti State.
“The Mega Centre undoubtedly will be a reference point for the development of other centres in the states. It will also be an initiative to be emulated by other states of the federation.
“I therefore use this august occasion to call on other SUBEBs to tow the line of Ekiti State in giving priority to Early Childhood Development by providing infrastructure that are of quality and age appropriate.”
Represented by Mrs. Adaba, the Federal Ministry of Education Director also spoke in the same vein.
He said: “Your excellency, by setting up this ECCD Mega Centre, you have demonstrated that the future nurturing of the Nigerian child albeit Ekiti children is one of the priorities that your forward-looking government is committed to.
“Early Childhood Education is the foundation for early learning and this explains why a policy on Early Childhood Development was developed to encourage government’s participation in early childhood and education delivery.”