–as IMSUBEB debunk Rochas free education claim
-plans compulsory retirement, recruitment of teachers,
By Chris Emetoh, Owerri
Imo State government says it has earmarked about N3.9 billion for the renovation and reconstruction of schools in the State.
The money, according to the executive chairman, Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB) Prof. Obioma Iheduru, will be pumped into infrastructure in education in Imo state as part of the ‘Rebuilding Imo’ strategy of Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s administration.
The project which is to be cited, one in each of the 305 political wards in the state is to correct what he described as the shabby works done by the immediate past administration where money was ostentatiously lavished with nothing to show for it.
According to Iheduru, the project will include the renovation of 140 collapsed buildings, construction of 120 new classroom blocks and headmaster’s offices and the drilling of 45 new boreholes in schools.
“This necessitated the engagement of 10 architects and 10 quantity surveyors from the Imo State University to ensure quality and standard,” he explained.
Prof. Iheduru made this disclosure on Thursday during an interactive session with journalists at his office in Owerri, on the strategic plan in the 100 days of governor Ihedioha, as well as on the long term strategy of IMSUBEB in rebuilding the education system in Imo state.
He urged the citizens to disregard claims by the immediate past administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha that it gave free education. The IMSUBEB Executive Chairman noted that basic education in Nigeria has always been free since 2004, “therefore Rochas cannot claim to have given introduced free education in Imo State.”
He however explained need for the recruitment of new teachers in public schools to balance the teacher- pupil ratio which is presently exceeded.
He said this is necessary to ensure quality teaching in public schools.
“More teachers are needed but there’s paucity of fund,” he informed.
The board chairman also explained that IMSUBEB plans to build fences in schools to prevent encroachment by host communities.
He said that “one project will be cited in each of the political wards in the state, adding that all 305 wards were involved in the selection process.
Prof.Iheduru expressed regrets that the Rochas administration did not do due diligence on the construction of schools which left most of the buildings dilapidated.
He said that “ under this Rebuild Imo Government, IMSUBEB along with professors from IMSU, took time to go round schools in the state to ascertain the true position of things and to proffer lasting solution”.
He noted that the board would adhere strictly to instruction policies of the Imo government under Governor Ihedioha on the compulsory retirement of teachers who have served 35 years or are up to 60 years of age, adding ” we are working on this to create opportunity for younger persons “.