Ayade : Revamping Cross River’s Education Sector with Soon-To-Be Ready TCTC

At the 2020 budget presentation by Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade to the state House of Assembly, one of the major executive pronouncements by the 'Digital' Governor was the change of the name of the state Ministry of Education to Ministry of Quality Education.

The change was predicated on the fact that with the revolution going on in the education sector, it is necessary to give it a name that reflects the vision, dreams and aspirations of the Governor. The Governor's dream right from the beginning of his administration has been to ensure that Cross Riverians at all levels have access, not just to education but quality education.

As a man whose intellectual sagacity propelled him to stardom as a global brand at a young age, it's not surprising that Ayade thinks that the state shouldn't be talking about education but quality education in the 21st century. Perhaps, being the first state in Nigeria to be governed by two erudite Professors who made their mark in the academia as well as research and development before assuming office as Governor and deputy, nothing less was expected.

It's worthy of note that there's a great dichotomy between having access to education and having access to quality education. Everybody can have access to education but the contemporary economy which is driven by modern technology desires more than just the regular education. 

In achieving his aim, Governor Ayade has not only changed the name of the education ministry but he is silently providing the necessary infrastructure and enabling environment for the regime of quality education to thrive in the state and beyond.

Beside the improved funding of the states tertiary institutions including the increase of the monthly subvention of the state owned Cross River University of Technology and the upgrading of the College of Health Technology to a degree awarding institution, the Ayade's administration has recorded giant strides at the basic education level.

Real quality education begins from the basic level. In fact, the primary and secondary levels are catalyst for quality education. Once these levels which are the foundation stages are rightly positioned, less work is required to maintain standard at the tertiary level 

Understanding this salient reality, the Ayade administration has devoted so much resources to infrastructural, structural, administrative and manpower reforms at the basic levels. For instance, the renovation of over 300 public primary and secondary schools, recruitment of about 2,000 qualified Teachers, deployment of some unqualified teachers, improved funding, establishing of a world class British Canadian College in Obudu amongst others, are strategic steps the Governor has taken to revamp the sector in the state.

Besides, Ayade has also identified low quality teachers and teaching as the bane of the development of education in the country. In solving this problems which are militating against the growth and development of education in the state and Nigeria at large, the Governor, 8 months ago commenced the building of an ultramodern Teachers Continuous Training College (TCTC) in Biase.

The college which is the first specialised Teachers Continuous Training Centre in Nigeria has reached 80 per cent completion. The most shocking part is that when you compare the lean financial position of the state, other gigantic projects undertaken by this administration vis-a-vis the rapid progress of work going on, you'll be left with no option than to recognise and appreciate Governor Ayade's ingenuity, smartness and guts.

Aesthetically designed and located in Akpet Central in a unique land with a rare combination of flat, deep and hilly topography that has added so much style to it, it is perfectly placed beside the expressway where commuters can always peep through their windowns to catch glimpses of the alluring beautiful buildings and other things.

With about 10 unique gigantic buildings representing different components of the college for different purposes like administration, Rector's Lodge, Amphitheatre hall, events hall, class rooms, canteen, domatory, hotels etc, there's no doubt that when completed, it will become a leader in the reformation and revamping of the education sector by offering the first of its kind  training and retraining of the trainers (Teachers) in Nigeria.

Besides, training and retraining of teachers, the site Manager, Engr. Odey Ogar said that when completed, it will also house world class secondary school. He noted that best teachers in all subjects from Europe, Asia, America, Africa and in fact, across the world would be brought to train and retrain teachers in the state and other parts of the country.

He said that "based on the ideas of His Excellency, he wants this place to be a world class training centre for teachers to be trained and retrained again. From his own views, most Nigerian teachers after acquiring their first or second degrees, they don't emabrk on further training and with the world changing everybody, there's the need for continuous training of teachers who are the trainers to meet the contemporary demands".

Ogar maintained that "Although, the primary aim is to train and retrain teachers, we will also have world class secondary school here. That's why we are building the domatory for the regular Students and the hotels for expertraits who would be brought from all parts of the world to train and retrain teachers and students"

While commending the Governor for the initiative, he said that "As you can see, we have started roofing. Two of the buildings are down and by next week, we will start with others. This massive structures you see here today are projects of less than a year; eight months to be precised. In the next three months, the project should be ready because the Governor wants to see that the school starts functioning fully by September next year".

A University Don and indigene of Biase, Dr. Ukam Ngwu, Esq. was full of praises for the Governor for the project. He said that the Governor has taken a bold step to addressing the inglorious reputation of the state as one of the educationally less developed states in Nigeria.

"I sincerely appreciate and welcome the laudable initiative of His Excellency, Sen. Prof Ben Ayade in conceiving the idea of having a Teachers' training and retraining centre situated in the State, especially with the  inglorious reputation of the state as one of the educationally less developed states in Nigeria. 

This got to show that His Excellency is such a pragmatic and dynamic scholar per excellence with the vision and mission of revamping the educational image of the state and making it a reference point nationwide". 

Developmental demands and current globalisation drive calls for immediate change to approaches to teaching and learning. Hence, increased expertise in the area of teaching is expediently required to change the narratives in Nigeria's 'near decay' educational system flooded with low skilled teachers and morally declined students. 

This project according to Ukam is geared towards achieving a new global approach to teaching and it's pertinent because no educational system can grow above the standard or level of its teachers.

Having a continuous teachers' training college, according to him will help improve the pedagogical repertoire of Nigerian teachers at all levels and will surely reflect in their products.

He said that "Having such a gigantic project located at Akpet Central, Biase local government is commendable and the progress of work done is amazing. As an indigene of Biase I'm indeed grateful to the Governor because the importance and impact of such citadel of learning can never be over emphasized. It will certainly attract developments and economic activities and viability to the area".
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