When His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel pronounced his desire to give education sector a befitting boost from 2021, many people did not fully understand the direction he would take to achieve this lofty plan. With a great understanding of the human factor in attaining the right results, His Excellency assembled a team of very experienced and seasoned technocrats as Board Members of State Secondary Education Board to superintend over the management of public secondary schools in the Akwa lbom State.
The new Board which was sworn-in on 21 st August, 2020 has Rt. Hon (Dr.) Ekaette Ebong Okon, a former 2-time State House of Assembly member and an administrator of public and private schools as the Executive Chairman and Pastor (Dr.) Markfre Ekefre, a veteran journalist/public relations consultant as Board Member I. Other are Mr. Ofon Ukim, a former Commissioner III in the Local Government Service Commission as Board Member II, as well as Hon. Victor Okon, a former Executive Chairman of Oron Local Government Area as Board Member III and Hon. (Barr.) Martins Umanah, a former Executive Chairman of Essien Udim Local Government Area as Board Member IV.
Pushed by the mandate of Governor Udom Emmanuel to raise the standard of education in the State, and the strategic plan to have first-hand understanding of the system, the new Board commenced on a week-long extensive inspection tour of the ten Federal Constituencies of the State. The exercise also provided the Board leadership the opportunity to check the level of adherence to COVID-19 safety precautions schools and the conduct of Senior Schools Certificate Examinations.
As the 2020/2021 academic session commenced, the Board commenced on another round of intensive school monitoring. The main aim of this second round of inspection was to ensure a conducive environment for the students to kick-start the new session after a long period of lockdown. The monitoring teams (five in number) further ensured strict compliance to COVID-19 protocols in schools.
Having assessed the operation of the system at the field, Rt. Hon. Okon assembled zonal directors. Principals and Vice principals in the three senatorial districts in the State to charge the school administrators to be more efficient and dedicated in service delivery in order to encourage students in public secondary schools to put in good performance. The invited education key players gave useful feedback which has assisted the Board in taking decisions that fast-track educational growth in the State. The event commenced with Uyo Senatorial District on Wednesday, 7th October, 2020 at Community Secondary School, Aka Offot, Uyo, lkot Ekpene Senatorial District took its turn on 8th October, 2020 at State College lkot Ekpene while Eket Senatorial District briefing took place at Government Secondary School, Afaha Eket on 12th October, 2020.
Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Okon led directors of the Board to attend a one day special training on how to re-position the service for greater achievements. The training which was at the instance of the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Enobong Mbobo drew other participants from the State Universal Basic Education Board and the State Technical Schools Board.
As schools settle down for serious business, the Board Chairman approved the two teams to carry out another round of inspection visits, this time to ensure quality standards in inputs and to guarantee the use of the right materials for excellent output. This exercise commenced in December, 2020 and was paused to allow directors conduct promotion screening interviews for qualified teachers. That of the non-teaching staff is going on along with that of the teachers.
So it has been about four weeks of non-stop activities aimed at meeting the high expectations of His Excellency, the Governor in preparing grounds for a revolution in educational development in the State. The Board under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Dr. Ekaette Ebong Okon is ready to implement the blue print of the State Education Road Map as approved by the State Executive Council. The Chairman and her team are very grateful to the Governor for calling them to service at this very critical moment and promised to do their best to ensure the completion agenda of the Governor