Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has explained why his administration introduced the boarding school system, which was non-existent in the state before the inception of his administration in 2012.
Governor Dickson spoke on Thursday at the Civic Centre in Lagos during a colloquium entitled: “Raising A Wise Generation: Revamping Nigeria’s Secondary Education” organised by Government College, Ughelli Old Boys Association, September ‘73 Class.
Speaking on the topic: “Grassroots Education,” the Bayelsa Governor, who was one of the guest speakers at the event, said he decided to invest heavily in secondary education to empower the youth with requisite knowledge capable of discouraging them from taking to militancy, stressing that there is a correlation between illiteracy and militancy in the region.
He said the establishment of boarding schools across the state and the free and compulsory education at primary and secondary levels have democratised education in the state and the grassroots in particular.
“When I took over, there was no single boarding school in Bayelsa State. If you are wondering why some places have issues of militancy, insurgency, instability, criminality and other similar crises, you just need to look at the state of investment in education.
‘’When I became governor in 2012, standing on the podium at my inauguration, I declared a state of emergency in education…At the dinner, some of my friends said free education would destroy my government and they asked where I would have the money to fund free education. I said I would plug the leakages, get the priority right and fund free education.
‘‘Now, in Bayelsa, we have built almost 15 model boarding schools, feeding the students free of charge and they are on scholarship. One of them is the flagship boarding secondary school, the Ijaw National Academy, with over 1,000 students.
“We selected the best boys and girls from all the primary schools irrespective of their background from all the Ijaw-speaking areas along the coastline of Nigeria – Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Ondo,’’ he said.