Enhancing mass education through satellite television
Undoubtedly, President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has made unprecedented progress across the country in the creation of access to quality education amongst less privileged Nigerians. The statistics are clear and the results are nationwide. These are facts that cannot be disputed, even by die-hard critics of the administration.
A few examples will suffice. Schools for almajiris across the country, special girl-child schools in educationally disadvantaged communities, on-going construction of schools for out-of-school boys in the south-south and south-east and direct intervention in the improvement of facilities in existing schools in the country. At the tertiary level the Federal Government established nine new Federal universities with eight already on stream, while another three were recently approved. Within the same period, nine new private universities were also awarded licenses to operate.
This programmed improvement of education opportunities for Nigerians has been premised on the fundamental goal of creating access to basic and tertiary education of the four-year strategy plan for the development of the education sector, 2011 to 2015.
Beyond the achievements that have been recorded so far as regards the creation of access to schools for Nigerian children and adults, the Federal Government has resolved to directly involve the private sector in working out novel ways to reach those in remote communities of the nation.
The novel arrangement worked out between the Federal Ministry of Education and television outfit, Daar Communications Plc will ensure that education signals in all subject areas in the basic education sub-sector are disseminated to Nigerian children residing in the 774 local government areas of the country.
At the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), for the partnership between the Federal Ministry of Education and Darr Communications on the project, Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, said that the Federal Government is ready to partner with stakeholders in the private and public sector to deliver quality basic education.
He said: “We are determined to improve quality education for Nigerians and our resolve is to involve everyone, since government alone cannot shoulder the enormous responsibility of creating acess for Nigerian children.”
Wike noted that though the Jonathan administration has made monumental investments in the basic education sub-sector, collaborations are still required to increase access across the country.
He announced that out of the N29billion needed for the project, the Federal Government would not make any financial commitments, aside facilitating the participation of local and statparticipates.
Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said that the communications outfit will commit 22 dedicated channels to airing education programmes patterned in line with approved Federal Ministry of Education curriculum. He added that required infrastructure will be developed in all localities in the 774 local government councils and the rural communities of the Federal Capital Territory to transmit signals directly to schools. Satellite facilities to be located in the schools will be backed by electricity generators to ensure uninterrupted learning. Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, described the project as a landmark initiative to extend the benefits of the Federal Government’s education programmes to all the nooks and crannies of the country.
Indeed, for the programme to succeed, the states and the local government areas need to buy into the initiative.
By Simeon Nwakaudu
Abuja, Special Assistant (Media) to Minister of State for Education