Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has earmarked N20.8 billion for the education sector in 2021 to sustain the gains recorded in the sector by the administration in its first term.

Obaseki, in a statement, said the government will commit N12.9 billion to expand the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation, EdoBEST, programme to ensure the rollout of the initiative to other sections of the basic education scheme, specifically from Basic seven to nine.

Obaseki noted that investments would be made to ensure the success of the Edo Supporting Teachers to Achieve Results, Edo STAR, Teaching Fellowship Programme, which is a three-year training and field experience/employment programme for teachers and aspiring teachers who would be migrated into the state’s civil service upon satisfactory performance.

“Taking cognisance of the fact that quality education underpins our developmental aspirations, our targets in strengthening the education system would not be compromised.

“In essence, we would be committing N12.9 billion to the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation programme. This would sustain the gains made and ensure the roll-out of the programme to other sections of the basic education scheme, specifically from Basic seven to nine.

“To further institutionalize the EdoBEST programme, we would be launching the Edo STAR Teaching Fellows programme. This is a unique three-year fellowship programme designed for teachers and aspiring teachers in primary and junior secondary schools.

“The STAR fellowship programme aims to train and groom a new generation of teachers who are passionate, technologically-savvy, transformative and societally conscious about nation-building through education.

“The programme will be administered by the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Edo State College of Education, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, and our technical partner.

“Our expenditure in basic education would focus on reconfiguring the infrastructure in schools to ensure compliance with COVID-19 containment guidelines,” Obaseki said.

Speaking on plans for technical education in the coming year, the governor noted that: “Our vision to make Edo great again lies strongly on building a virile and productive youth population. We would therefore be replicating the success at the Government Science and Technical College, GSTC, across the state, building the necessary manpower to drive industrial growth. In 2021, we shall commence the construction and equipping of three other technical colleges.”