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How EdoBEST Re-shaped my Orientation: A Personal Encounter 

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I am very grateful and excited that we are in a new dawn where education is prioritised and given its pride of place in the administration of Governor Obaseki

By Omoruyi Patricia Osayomore

Considering the various accolades for the EdoBEST success stories and the launch of the EdoBEST 2.0, targeted at secondary, technical, vocational and tertiary education in Edo State, I had an informal chat with my nephew, Saturday Johnbull, a student of Oka Secondary School, Upper Sapkonba, Benin City, who relieved his basic school memories as a contrast to his current secondary school experiences. Considering the depth of his narration I was able to prevail on him to put it into writing and so began his story:

“When I was in basic school, I thought education had lost its value because of several years of neglect and dilapidated school infrastructures in my community. More worrisome was the nonchalant attitude of the teachers and management staff of my school then. 

“These occurrences dominated my locality to the extent that it reflected in the attitude of some parents and children towards education, especially in public schools. Hence, on their lips and on the street, you come across phrases like “school standard has dropped”, “no gain in education”, “only the late Brigadier-General Osaigbovo Ogbemudia knew what true education is”, and so on. 

“These sayings influenced me and my peer group in my community to the extent that it made us dislike learning activities. We skipped classes, made fun of more intelligent students in school and mocked our teachers secretly. We did all of these because we thought they were wasting their time and potentials in the academic field; which at that time, no longer enjoyed the priority it deserved from the government. Our drive to be educated died slowly as our bright future could hardly be seen. 

“The point of self-realisation and emancipation was the advent of the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration where the education status in Edo State changed positively with his various education reforms, championed by the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Osa-Oviawe, on behalf of the State Government.

“As a senior secondary school student now in SS2, my former routines included playing football in any available space, tennis and ludo games. One day, I damaged our neighbour’s windscreen while playing football and my father was compelled to incur the expenses for its replacement. That attracted five days corporal punishment for everyone involved in the game.

“However, now, with the help of the EdoBEST 2.0 programme, specifically, the EdoBEST @ Home Lessons, my after-school routine has changed to include studying and assisting my mother with house chores, as well as running errands for my dad, yet with enough time for my school assignments while our digital teachers monitor and guide us online. Our teachers have been trained and re-trained with modern technology in order to impact us positively.

“The Governor Obaseki-led administration has also renovated and maintained all the dilapidated classroom blocks in my school and some other schools in nearby communities. The new buildings and maintenance done on the old blocks have made school environments exciting and attractive to me and my friends for learning. With these developments and many other transformations and in my school, my former perception about education has changed. The past narratives have given way for a new dawn in the State’s education sector.

“After secondary education, I wish to continue with my tertiary education in the State. I am grateful for the holistic transformations and reforms by the Edo State Government in the Education Sector.”

As I listened keenly to him, it reminded me of similar experiences in Edo State during my secondary education particularly in my senior secondary school days. There was high rate of student dropouts from public schools; a few of us managed to complete our secondary education amidst the discouraging conditions because our parents could afford the fees for private schools. 

Some of the dropouts engaged in street trading, which resulted in unwanted pregnancies on the parts of the girls while many of the boys became touts. Others embarked on illegal migration in order to escape the poor education system and hardship in the country. The consequences were grave as many capable sons and daughters of the state were lost to the terror of illegal migration and human trafficking. 

I am very grateful and excited that we are in a new dawn where education is prioritised and given its pride of place in the administration of Governor Obaseki. Since the past six years of his administration, education has not only improved, illegal and irregular migration has abated also.

It is the Governor Obaseki’s administration which birthed the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) and EdoBEST 2.0. The programmes leverage technology with a great mix of teacher-learner interface. The provision of technological gadgets like computers, tablets and android phones are used in the programme to aid digital learning. The programme is not restricted to basic, secondary and technical education. It has been extended to tertiary and vocational education in the State.

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