Some engineers and staff in the Delta State have been sanctioned for certifying defective jobs okay.

The State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Barr. Chiedu Ebie, disclosed this when he took his turn yesterday at the ongoing ministerial press briefing to present the activities and achievements of his Ministry, held at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information, Asaba.

Mr Ebie, who was responding to a question raised on the integrity test carried out on a building project at West End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba, said that the officers were sanctioned to act as deterrent against others okaying shoddy execution of jobs.

He said that efforts were being made by government to correct the defect in the building based on findings by the consultant that carried out the integrity test on the building, no extra amount would be spent by government but would be that of the contracting firm concerned.

Gov. Okowa and Hon. Chiedu Ebie, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education on project inspection

He clarified that even though the construction of the building was a constituency project attracted by a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, that does not make him the contractor of the project.

The Basic and Secondary Education Commissioner, speaking on other issues, indicated that about 208 secondary school principals would be retiring this year but would not be able to say when new ones would be engaged to fill the gap.

He however stated that government was making concerted effort to stabilize the shortfall in manpower through the engagement of ad-hoc staff, Corps members, N Power personnel and the utilization of DESOPADEC staff.

On the assessment of Delta State Government Schools in external examination, Barr. Ebie stated that the state grading had moved from 42 to 46 percent, expressing satisfaction with performance while acknowledging that it could have been better.

He attributed the below average grading to the zero tolerance the his ministry had for examination malpractice, observing that the grading might not be a true reflection of the performance of the state, saying so far, the state had held consistently the seventh and eight position nationwide in external examinations.

Responding to reports of inadequate public schools in the state capital, Asaba and environs, Barr. Ebie, revealed that two schools had been established in Okpanam and two in the Akwebulu area of Asaba, saying absence of land space had largely hindered efforts at establishing new schools.

He debunked reports that the State Government had taken over the School for Special Children at Okpanam, saying government merely intervened when the operators of the school were experiencing challenges with some indigenes of Okpanam over encroachment on the school’s land.

The Commissioner however said that the State Government had since secured the land and renovated three classroom blocks, adding that the Reverend Sisters operating the school had returned and academic activities commenced.

On the crisis that erupted between students of Zappa and West-End Mixed Secondary Schools in Asaba, the Commissioner disclosed that the issue had been resolved, noting that the ministry made it known that students had not stake in the posting of principals and teachers.

He stated that his ministry took steps to ensure that such incident did not recur, revealing that the senior students of both schools, their parents and guardians as well as teachers were engaged on their expected roles and likely sanctions in the event of future misadventure.

According to the Commissioner, the State Government decided to give the offending students a second chance by not expelling them and announced that both schools had since resumed after closure with teaching and learning in progress.

On cultism in schools, Barr. Ebie described the trend as a serious problem, blaming it on the bad influence of people from outside the school community, stating that his ministry was partnering with the Directorate of Orientation to sensitize students and pupils on the dangers of getting involved in cultism.

He disagreed with insinuations that truancy among pupils and students was as a result of the discontinuation of the engagement of EDUMARSHALL, explaining that the scheme was defective in structure.

The Commissioner also spoke on the Federal Government’s feeding programme of pupils from primaries one to three in government schools, saying 2,194 cooks were engaged while 1,829 were cleared and paid, disclosing that 215,000 pupils were involved in the feeding programme.

He said for now, no new school could be included in the programme because they were not in existence when the existing benefitting schools were submitted for inclusion as at May 2017 when the programme commenced.

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