The 2012 education budget of the Rivers State Ministry of Education would have huge provision for rebuilding the over 245 long-neglected public secondary schools in the state. This is because the fate of the old colleges has been decided;
they would be rebuilt and upgraded to meet the world-class colleges built at the cost of N4.5billion each. Much concern has been expressed by analysts on likely dangers of certain disparity between the products of the new colleges and the old ones.
Education has consistently received huge chunks of the state’s annual budgets since state of emergency was declared in education in 2008. For instance, education topped the budget in 2011 budget with N67.92billion with N25.84billion going to infrastructure alone; also in 2010, education was joint tops with Works, getting N70billion.
Alice Nemi-Lawrence, commissioner for Education, relied upon by the Chibuike Amaechi administration to execute the state’s highly hailed education revolution, has disclosed government’s plan to revisit the old colleges, starting from the 2012 budget.
Nemi-Lawrence said the upgrading of the old schools will be the ministry’s top priority next year, assuring that the ministry would not allow its old schools that had produced illustrious sons and daughters in the state to continue to be in a sorry state.
She also said the ministry would not only bring back the glory days of its old schools, but also tackle the problem of encroachment in different schools in the state. She also said of the efforts by Post Primary Schools Board in driving away illegal occupants in some schools.
While commenting on the good news, O.C.J.Okocha, an Old boy, now a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and onetime national president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) commended Nemi-Lawrence for translating the vision of the administration in lifting education in the state to international standards, announced plans by the COBA to launch an endowment fund to help rebuild the college.