The ancient land of Igarra, known for its generous export of groundnut and its by-products was agog with an atmosphere that can only be described as electric when it welcomed one of its greatest exports, the Executive Chairman of Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (Edo SUBEB), Mrs Ozavize E. Salami.
Appointed as the Executive Chairman of Edo SUBEB, Mrs Ozavize E. Salami has since October 2021 been at the helm of affairs, coordinating the reform in the basic education sector of Edo state. Appointed by the Governor of Edo state, Governor Godwin Obaseki, Mrs. Salami’s primary objective is to ensure that teachers and the staff working with her work earnestly towards delivering superior learning outcomes.
Applauding her efforts towards providing children in Edo state with quality education at the basic education level, the Otaru of Igarra Land, Oba E. A Saiki (JP) commended the Chairman noting that her actions will safeguard the future of children in Edo state.
The Paramount traditional ruler of the Igarra/Akuku Clan commended her tenacity and competence. He said, “Let me say that your appointment, which is highly impressive, stands on the principle that pitches the conduct of our education system in Edo State and the country”.
Prioritizing improved learning outcomes
Launching the EdoBEST programme which is the state government’s intervention for education at the basic education level in 2018, the government only envisaged reforming public primary schools in the state. It started with primary schools because according to Governor Godwin Obaseki, “To rebuild any structure, you have to start from the base and the base of our educational system is basic education”.
However, under the capable leadership of Mrs. Ozavize E. Salami, the programme has been extended to schools now referred to as progressive schools. These are schools found in hard-to-reach and most rural areas with a pupil population of less than 100. Building on the gains of the basic education sector reforms the Obaseki-led government had started in 2018 popularly known as EdoBEST, Mrs Salami led the reform to the progressive schools as a step towards increasing enrolment and improving learning outcomes for children in the state.
In 2022, the programme also hit a major milestone when it organised a 10-day comprehensive training for JSS teachers, headteachers and principals and a supervisory team of the programme. This makes room for more children to be targeted by the EdoBEST programme as the state works towards achieving SDG goal 4 of quality education for all children by 2030.
Worthy of note is the fact that Edo State is one of the few states in Nigeria that have followed the UBEC mandate of having Junior Secondary School under the purview of each state’s SUBEB. The EdoBEST programme was instituted in junior secondary schools following the disarticulation of JSS in October 2021.
Upskilling for excellence
The Obaseki-led government has prioritised teacher professional development as part of the pillars of the EdoBEST programme. For the reform to be effective, there has to be a conscious effort in the recruitment and development of the teachers. Reiterating the words of Governor Godwin Obaseki, “No society develops without education. The most important element in any education system is teachers”, Mrs Salami in her capacity as Edo SUBEB chairman, has conducted 2 training sessions for primary and JSS teachers in the first half of 2022. This is away from small clusters of training held in between terms.
In attendance at the civic reception in honour of the Edo SUBEB Chairman, the Chairman, Edo State Chapter of the National Union of Teachers, Comrade Bernard Ajobiewe, who joined other representatives of NUT in felicitating the Chairman lauded her strategies in ensuring the uniform quality of education for children in the state as well as upskilling teachers for excellence through series of formal and informal training sessions. While applauding the chairman, Comrade Ajobiewe noted that he is looking forward to more results from the visionary chairman.
“This is a recognition well deserved because of her outstanding performance. She has performed tremendously, moving the EdoBEST programme to the next level”, said Comrade Ajobiewe.
Since appointed Executive Chairman, Mrs. Salami has been intentional about teacher training as a driver for quality education across all EdoBEST schools in Edo state effectively transforming teaching practices and processes from analogue to digital.
At a leadership summit organised in April for school leaders, supervisors and education secretaries, Mrs. Salami reiterated the government’s stance on providing quality education to children in Edo state. She said “Teachers matter for governance, delivery of learning values and managing school environments. A key priority to us at Edo SUBEB is that every year, and in all our schools, pupils have access to quality basic education, irrespective of where their schools are located”.
Driving forward, for better education delivery
Edo SUBEB under the leadership of the unrelenting education enthusiast, Mrs. Salami has been able to achieve a lot of firsts, ranging from improving learning outcomes to the successful recruitment and deployment of over 2,000 Edo Supporting Teachers to Achieve Results (EdoSTAR) programme to fill teacher gaps in primary and junior secondary schools in the state in an academic year.
Speaking on the plans of the board for the future of education in Edo state, Mrs salami said, “We understand that the challenges are as many as they are diverse and critical, and I can assure you of our commitment to closing teachers’ gaps, improving learning outcomes and making significant investments in improving the school environment. Education for all is the responsibility of all”.
As the Board prepares for a new session, all hands are on deck to ensure the continuity of the smooth delivery of the basic education services in all state-run primary and junior secondary schools.
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