Johannes Jigem is the Taraba state Commissioner of Education. He is supervising the education component of Gov. Ishaku’s ‘Rescue Mission’. In this interview with our reporter, he tells us about the giant strides of the administration in the education sector.
As this administration winds up, what can you say is the state of primary and secondary education in Taraba state compared to what it used to be in previous administrations?
Hon. Jigem: One of those things that would tell whether we are performing or not is when you look at our KPI, that is Key Performance Indicator. One of our KPIs is the performance of our students in external public exams. Our students are doing extremely well. Over the years, we have never gotten up to 50 percent.
Since this administration came to power, we have obtained a favourable level in our WAEC which we are using as yardstick. In NECO, in NABTEB, we are doing very well, but we are using WAEC as our baseline. When we came, we had 63.7 percent and we have been maintaining it. Notwithstanding all the crises we are going through; attacks here and there by unknown gunmen, we are still performing.
WAEC Office constructed, furnished and we’ll equipped by Gov. Ishaku’s Administration
The State government in collaboration with Taraba state University was able to establish the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Health Sciences. When we came on board, there was no WAEC office in Taraba state, we have been able to establish one as well as provide a utility vehicle and land for WAEC. We also made sure we got a marking centre in Taraba where ad-hoc staff would be employed from our schools to mark WAEC scripts.
This would build capacity in the staff that would be employed as well as a source of income. Also, 64 graduates of secondary schools were picked from the 16 local government areas and sent to Ogun state and trained in skills acquisition like carpentry, bricklaying, ICT, fashion design etc and he provided them with funds to start and I assure you these boys and girls are doing very well.
Of recent, another workshop was organised through the State University on Business Management for a week and after that he provided allowance. Also, he was able to bring together secretaries, principals in the 16 local education authorities for a train the trainers workshop. We also travelled for a workshop in Dubai UAE on strengthening and repositioning education in Taraba state. The participants were the commissioner, permanent secretary, directors, procurement officers, finance officers. It was quite encouraging.
Of recent we constituted our monitoring and evaluation committee to monitor and evaluate the system. Because of the challenge of shortage of teachers, the governor decided to employ 3000 teachers to bridge the manpower gap in our secondary schools.
Also, of recent he has carried out the renovation and construction of schools across the state. For example, the Mamara Government Secondary School Wukari (it is an exchange school for students from the 19 northern states); if you get there, you would appreciate the governor on the image of Taraba that he is selling outside. I also learnt (though unconfirmed) that Taraba is tops in education among the north east states.
The Taraba state University generates huge revenues from school fees, yet it complains a lot on funding. How are these revenues managed and does the Ministry have oversight on the institution?
Hon. Jigem: Thank you for that question. You know education is a bottomless pit. You collect all these monies, utilise it within the school and you still complain. All they collect in the school, they spend it. We can’t satisfy education. They are still demanding for more Faculties apart from those they have and to satisfy those demands you need money.
Is there proper oversight on the operations of the university by the Ministry?
Hon. Jigem: Yes, yes.. we monitor them. You know they have a Council whose responsibility it is to see how the university is been managed.
Investigations have shown that Taraba state students in tertiary institutions hardly benefit from the bursary like their counterparts in other states. Considering the Rescue Mission of Gov. Ishaku, what are you doing about the situation?
Hon. Jigem: When it comes to bursary, we are doing well to some extend. One, are you aware that all our medical students are paid monthly allowance? Secondly, at the beginning of the year, the government released money to the National Union of Taraba Students (NUTASS) and SA Student Affairs, to go round all the universities in Nigeria and get us the statistics. (Before you talk of bursary, you must know the number of students and the financial implication). We are still waiting for it.
What has happened to the Taraba state Scholarship Board; is it not its responsibility? Why delegating a students’ body to carry out that duty when we have the scholarship board?
Hon. Jigem: You see, atimes when you tell them that the scholarship board is doing the work, they would feel we are just playing over their intelligence. That is why we want everybody to be involved. That is why we involved the students union. The scholarship board is also part of that committee. We are still expecting them, if the financial implication is within the threshold of the governor, fine and good. If it is above our threshold, we will take it to the State House of Assembly for virement.
Is the State up to date on payment of UBEC Counterpart Fund?
Hon. Jigem: The government has paid over N2Billion and UBEC has acknowledged that and we hope the Federal Government would pay its own so that the state can embark on projects.
When you look round, you would discover several private schools springing up around the State, what is the Ministry doing to check the menace of unlicensed private schools in the State?
Hon. Jigem: I have directed the permanent secretary to constitute a committee to go round all the private schools in the State; those that have met our standards should be properly registered and those that have not met our standards should be closed. As schools resume in the next couple of weeks, we hope the committee would go into action.
Hon. Jigem. J, Commissioner of Education
Taraba state indigenes in tertiary institutions across the country would soon begin to benefit from bursary as a committee has already been set up to get statistics of Taraba students across the country and the financial implication.
This was disclosed to our reporter by The State Commissioner of Education, Johannes Jigem, during an exclusive interview in Jalingo Wednesday.
Jigem, who used the opportunity to list the achievements of the present administration in the education sector, also disclosed that medical students of Taraba origin were being paid monthly allowance already.
“The National Union of Taraba State Students (NUTASS) and S.A Student Affairs, would go round all the universities in Nigeria and get us the statistics. Before you talk of bursary, you must know the number of students and the financial implication; we are still waiting for it. If the financial implication is within the threshold of the governor, fine and good. If it is above our threshold, we would take it to the State Assembly for virement”, he hinted.
When asked why a student body would be given the responsibility of doing the work as against the State Scholarship Board, Jigem stated that the decision to use the student body was to carry everyone along and erase any doubts on the intention of government.
According to the Commissioner, the State had already paid over N2Billion as UBEC Counterpart Fund which was duly acknowledged by the commission and was awaiting the Federal Government to pay its own share so that projects could begin in the State.
He added that his Ministry had set up a committee to clampdown on unlicensed private schools in the State.
“I have directed the permanent secretary to constitute a committee to go round all the private schools in the State; those that have met our standards should be properly registered and those that have not met our standards should be closed. As schools resume, we hope the committee would go into action”, he pointed.
The trauma healing workshop to help basic education teachers care for children in areas affected by crisis has ended.
The programme which was organised by the World Bank and the Taraba State Government was held in three centres within the State.
Declaring the five days workshop closed, Governor Darius Ishaku represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Mr. Samson Ada thanked the World Bank for their support in rebuilding communities affected by crisis in the north east.
Ishaku said the workshop would help teachers in the state to take better care of traumatised children affected by Boko Haram and other crises in the region.
According to him, the workshop with the theme: Psychosocial Support and Pedagogy for Basic Education Teachers in Conflict and Crisis Environments would compliment the State Government’s investment in the education sector and urged participants to make judicious use of the knowledge gained during the one week workshop.
Earlier, Taraba State Education Management Information System Officer, Mr. Job Julius said the programme was aimed at helping teachers cope with traumatised children and and helping them bounce back to their normal lives.
He added that 2,460 teachers participated in the third phase of the training which held in Gembu, Bali and Wukari centers.
According to him, the programme had last week concluded training of participants in Karim Lamido and Jalingo Centres.
The training consultant of the Summit Management Development Services, Mr. Olaoye Oyewole said his company was proud to be part of the training and expressed optimism that the teachers would transfer the knowledge gained to school children for the development of education in the State.
“The essence is that if traumatised children are well managed they would grow into better citizens who will help in building peaceful society and a strong economy for the country,” he said.
Some of the participants of the workshop; Aboki Mustapha, Margaret Nev and Vincent Okoh thanked the organizers of the workshop, saying it would help teachers to advance teaching methods and adopt new strategies for handling children with special needs.
Training workshop organized by the Taraba State Education Program Investment Project, with the support of the World Bank.
The World Bank and Taraba State Government on Tuesday commenced the training of 2,460 Basic Education Teachers to meet the psychosocial needs of school children in communities affected by crises.
The training workshop with the theme; Support and Pedagogy for Basic Education Teachers in Conflict and Crisis Environments organized by the Taraba State Education Program Investment Project, with the support of the World Bank commenced on Tuesday in Gembu, Bali and Wukari.
The program which is scheduled to last a week would be concluded with the training of participants in Karim – Lamido and Jalingo centres.
Declaring the workshop open in one of the Centres in Wukari, Governor Darius Ishaku represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Samson Ada urged the participants to take the programme seriously to improve the educational standard of the State.
Gov. Ishaku said the World Bank Assisted programme was in line with his administration’s Rescue Agenda which he said was already yielding results in so many sectors.
According to him, the investment of the State Government in the educational sector, especially the payment of counterpart funds for the State Education programme Investment Project assisted by the World Bank would be useless if the teachers played less attention to the programme.
He pledged his administration’s commitment to the peace and development of the State and called on all to support the government to do more.
Earlier, Taraba State Education Management Information System Officer, Mr. Job Julius said the programme was aimed at helping teachers to cope with traumatized children and teaching them to assist such children to bounce back to normal lives.
He informed the participants that they had carefully selected experts to teach them in basics of psychosocial support, healing and pedagogy for victims of trauma in public primary schools.
On his part, the training consultant of Summit Management Development Services, Mr. Olaoye Oyewole said his company was poised to give their best and enjoined participants to take the programme seriously for the good of the State and the country.
“If you as teachers, take the training seriously, you will go home better informed that will translated in the way you handle the traumatise children”.
“The essence is that if traumatized children are well managed they will grow up as better citizens which will help in building a peaceful society and a strong economy for the country in the future,” he said.
One of the participants, Mr. Aboki Mustapha thanked the organizers of the workshop, saying it would go a long way to help basic education teachers advance their teaching methods and adopt strategies in handling children with special needs.
The Governor of Taraba State, Darius Dickson Ishaku has presented cheques amounting to Fifty-Seven Million Naira to one hundred and fourteen primary and secondary schools in the State to enable the schools to carry out some minor projects.
Presenting the cheques to the schools at a ceremony which took place in Jalingo yesterday, Governor Ishaku said the money was grant received from the World Bank under the State Education Programme Investment Project, SEPIP which took off in Taraba State last year.
The governor said the grants would enable the schools to carry out minor projects such as the renovation of classrooms blocks, constructions of desks and procurement of instructional materials.
Governor Ishaku warned that the grants were not intended to be shared as a national cake, stressing that the principals and headmasters would be held responsible in the event of any mismanagement of the funds. He, however, assured them that the judicious utilization of the grants would attract additional allocation.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the State Commissioner of Education, Mr. Johanes Jigem said the grants were part of the World Bank scheduled to enhance the development of Education in Taraba State. Mr. Jigem said other components of the Banks included training of teachers and deploying them to hard-to-reach and conflict-prone areas.
He made the disclosure that so far, three thousand teachers had been trained and deployed to the affected areas, out of the five thousand teachers earmarked for training under the programme.
The commissioner also stated that the grant to the benefiting schools was the first phase, adding that others would follow in due course.
Picture of the Standing Mahogany Tree that Fell after the Thunderstorm in Bouba Njidda Wildlife Park at Garua, Cameroon Republic
Three students of the Taraba State University lost their lives when they were hit by falling trees during a rainstorm at the Bouba Njidda National Wild Life Park in Cameroon.
The Deputy Registrar, Information and Publication of the university, Malam Sanusi Sa’ad, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Jalingo on Wednesday.
Sa’ad said that the incident occurred on April 16 during a devastating rainstorm at about 3:15 p.m.
He said that the students were 400 level students of the Biological Science Department of the university on a research trip to neighboring Cameroon.
The official named the dead students as Nancy Sam-Achak, Grace Fyafa Thomas and Yusuf Mohammed, the President of the department’s students’ association.
He said that the Head of the Biological Science Department, Dr Robert Houmso, who was also in the trip and 16 other students were injured during the incident.
Sa’ad said that all the injured people were receiving treatment at the Garoua Hospital in Cameroon.