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Reformation agenda on education, health begins in Abia

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Reformation agenda on education, health begins in Abia

From Peter Okore, Umuahia

In pursuance of its reformation agenda on the Education and Health sectors of the economy, the Abia state government has decided to relocate, to nearby public schools, all the pupils affected by the closure of 197 privately- owned schools in the state for performing below standards.

This is also as the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria has suspended, indefinitely, the controversial Preliminary Test Session (PTS) examination taken by Nursing students in Abia State.

Announcing these measures in Umuahia during a media chat by the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu flanked by Health commissioner, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo and their Education counterpart, Prof.Uche Eme Uche, the government explained that it took these steps to ensure that the education of those children is not jeopardized because of the closure or the quality of their education and healthcare delivery, lowered.

According to Prince Kanu: “The Ministry of Education is working assiduously to ensure that the pupils of the private schools, that were shut down, are relocated to nearby public schools to continue with their education to ensure that they don’t loose their school academic programmes. While that is on-going, the other issues about the closed-down schools meeting the guidelines of reopening are being worked upon”

He also disclosed that 10 JAMB CBT centres that were shut- down have been reopened while more would equally be reopened in the New Year.

Following earlier protest of some Nursing students few weeks ago over the alleged result and admission racketeering, the State government cancelled the PTS exam and rescheduled it. Serious protest by students marred the rescheduled examination last Monday.

However, Prince Kanu revealed that the State government was engaging world class experts to drive the reforms in education sector while model schools are currently being retrofitted in various LGAs in the State.

The Commissioner further made it public that the State government has embarked on a total of 26 road projects with 6 being construction while the other 20 roads were for maintenance and rehabilitations.

He equally informed that government was getting ready for the accreditation of Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), saying that,” ABSUTH is receiving very rare reviews across board, from within and outside the State and the reasons are very simple; there has been a lot of upgrade in their facilities , they have new faculty members and of course, the general environment of ABSUTH is being improved upon and we believe that at the end of the day, the school will be reaccredited.”

Buttressing on the issues of the shut down of some private schools in the State, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eme Uche declared that while government appreciated private investors for filling-in the gap in education in the past, a lot of things were wrong with the private schools that were shut-down,

Her words: “We as a government appreciate what the private proprietors have done in the past, because when government abandoned schools there was a lacuna and private investors took advantage of that but in the process, it was abused, places that were not even fit for poultry farms became schools. So as a responsible government, in collaboration with professional bodies of private schools, we embarked on inspection of all those schools and it was alarming.

“There were instances where one teacher taught 3(three) classes. Obviously, you would know that such classes don’t have partitions. Those who do not have business with schools are not supposed to be running schools”.

Be that as it maybe, the Commissioner for Health Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo used the opportunity to disclose that as a result of irregularities discovered at the Amachara and Umuahia Schools of Nursing and protests by the affected students, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria has suspended, indefinitely, the controversial Preliminary Test Session (PTS) examination taken by Nursing students in Abia State.

She explained that the problem was the over bloated admission of Nursing students conducted by the immediate past administration.

According to Dr. Okoronkwo: “This admission happened in April,2023. So the students were already in school when this administration came into power. The schools were supposed to have taken 75 students only for the training institution, based on facilities available; but what we met on ground was 420 students. So we met that situation on ground, This is exactly what we are trying to manage . We didn’t create this problem, but we have to find solution to such.”

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The Commissioner informed that after the protest, ” the Nursing Council stepped-in by sending Directors from Abuja to Abia. We held a meeting with them and they said, for the students to take the exams , they must be sure. We have to now follow strictly the guidelines. The first thing would be to verify that they have correct WAEC result.

“We started the process immediately, we requested the names from the Principals of the two schools; Nursing School Amachara and Nursing School, Umuahia and they provided the names and the documents. So far they cleared about 500 students out of seven hundred and something of them”.

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