The Akwa Ibom state government has described recent reports of the prevalence of out-of-school children in the state as misleading, mischievous and politically motivated.
One report claimed that Akwa Ibom had a prevalence of out-of-school children, while another ranked the state’s performance in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
But in a statement released in Uyo on Thursday, Education Commissioner Ms Idongesit Etiebet said the report was false and fictitious as it did not come from the West African Board of Examiners.
According to the commissioner, the said report does not reflect the progress the state has made in the sector over the past seven years, and the impressive performance of students in final exams in the state.
The statement read, in part, ‘Akwa Ibom has 3,129,620 school children in public and government-approved private schools. These schoolchildren are effectively housed in 2,826 public and private schools in the state.
“This impressive number of schoolchildren is clearly a product of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s government education master plan, which has resulted in improved facilities and the employment of more teachers in schools, as well as rapid disbursements of salaries and other benefits to teachers across the country. state .”
Ms Etiebet further hinted that the state currently operates a free, compulsory and quality primary education program that makes it mandatory for every child of school age to attend school during school hours.
The statement added: “This policy, which is supported by the state’s children’s rights law, makes it a criminal offense for parents and guardians whose children are caught hanging out during school hours. Education monitors, located across the three Senate districts, enforce compliance by through daily patrol exercises.
“The state government also pays WAEC and NABTEB fees for all students in public high schools in the state, who face N1bn (one billion Naira) every year and also pays grants of 100 to 200 naira per child, per term respectively to all public primary and secondary schools, respectively, to discourage all forms of covert accusations by school leaders.
“In light of this, it can be clearly seen and argued that Akwa Ibom is at the forefront of education and it cannot be the same state that such horrific numbers of out-of-school children can be linked.
“In the same way, we want to categorically debunk the false West African School Certificate Exam performance rankings that have been circulating on social media. This false ranking of states in Nigeria is clearly not from the West African Board of Examiners and should definitely not be taken seriously.
“It should be noted that WAEC has not yet fully released all the results of its 2022 examination and as such the states’ performance ratings spat out on social media are clearly fictitious. In addition, the West African Examination Council has confirmed that it will review the performance assessment of states has not and has never published.
“Students in exciting classes in the state have improved in their performance in recent years. The recent results of the O’level exams in the country shows that Akwa Ibom students achieved the best results with one of them Master Valor Mbre Inyang scoring an A in all subjects in national and international exams he wrote.
“We urge the general public to ignore these mischievous and apparently politically motivated posts.”