Uniontown Elementary School teacher Earlean Bennett helps her first grade students read at the school in Uniontown, Ala., on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003. Their desire to learn is not dulled by the fact that recent U.S. Census estimates show that more than one in three of the students in the mostly black Perry County school system, which includes Uniontown, live below the poverty level. The Census recently released figures estimating poverty among children in the country's more than 14,000 school districts. It showed Perry County had the largest percentage of children below the poverty level among Alabama's public school districts. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

FAULTY and decayed
educational system was
one of the challenges the
present administration
in Plateau State
inherited from the
past administration.
A teacher in one of
the state’s secondary
schools who does not
want his name in print
told our correspondent
that before the Lalongled
government came
on board, education
was declining because
the teachers were not
motivated and most
of the classrooms in
most schools were
dilapidated. However,
he said a lot is being
done to reverse the ugly
trend.
One teacher, Mr.
Solomon Goje said
that “before now, the
state government did
not employ a single
teacher”. Goje said
“education is our only
industry and should
not be toyed with”, but
admitted that a lot has
changed in recent times.
Speaking to newsmen
recently in Jos, the
state capital during the
monthly press briefing,
the Commissioner
for Information and
Communication, Mallam
Nazif Muhammad,
said “under this
administration, there is
steady improvement in
the conditions necessary
for the conduct of
educational activities”.
He said “efforts in
this sector began at the
state-owned University
at Bokkos where sanity
was substantially
restored to enable
the state maximize
the institution’s huge
potential. Government’s
c o m m i t m e n t
to educational
development is also
noticeable in other
institutions such as the
College of Agriculture at
Garkawa. For instance,
Governor Lalong
recently gave approval
for the release of one
hundred and twentyfive
million naira for
the provision of critical
facilities required for
the accreditation of
programmes in the
College.”
The College of
Nursing and Midwifery,
Vom; College of Health
Technology, Zawan also
got huge allocations
to equip and install an
ultra-modern e-library
now in use having been
commissioned by the
Governor.
Similarly the Vice
Chancellor of the Plateau
State University, Prof
Doknan Sheni, who spoke
recently to newsmen also
said the institution has
gone through turbulent
moments since its
evolution, particularly
with the suspension of
academic activities in
2007 by the immediate
past administration.
He also said this
development impacted
negatively on the
university’s growth and
development. This he
said took the Varsity
many years back. Sheni
also said that the present
administration has
demonstrated courage
and willingness in
improving education in
the state.
“You are also aware that
even after the suspension
of academic activities was
lifted, the university again
witnessed the truncation
of the tenure of the pioneer
Vice Chancellor and my
suspension from office
for a period of ten months until the intervention of
the National Universities
Commission (NUC)
which waded into the
impasse and returned me
to office”, he said.
Also speaking at the
maiden Convocation of the
Plateau State University
(PLASU), Bokkos recently,
Lalong again pledged
to standardise education
in the state for growth
and development. In his
words “Ours is a promise
to create opportunities
not just for those with
the money and influence,
but for every Plateau
citizen who desires to
have meaningful and
productive life”.
“We had no option with
this understanding than
to purposefully swing
into action to deliver
change as promised,
and to restore hope to
the students who had
suffered the psychological
trauma of the closure of
the State University, and
the obvious threat of a
shattered future. The first
set of students of PLASU
were in an endlessidle
stay at home, with
their parents expecting
curiously to see their
children graduate”.
The governor
commended the
management and staff of the University for
their commitment and
diligence in managing the
affairs of the University
within the meager
resources made available
to it.
Remark Ditep, a citizen
of the state commended
the governor for efforts
at boosting education in
the state and called on
citizens of the state to
support him. Similarly
Yakubu Dati a former
Commissioner of
Information in Plateau
State recently said “At
the same venue 12 years
ago, Lalong was on the
same ground to witness the foundation laying
of the institution
performed by Gen.
Yakubu Gowon, former
Head of State.
He said “The
e d u c a t i o n a l
empowerment of the
youths will no doubt
further broaden viable
choices and make them
competitive in the
direction of innovative
creativity the world
is heading towards
“Since assuming office,
Governor Lalong has
deplored a combination
of strategies and
activities that had great
meaningful impact,
fostering a culture of
peaceful coexistence
and, in turn, economic
progress in a period of
recession such as ours”.
While efforts geared
at educating leaders of
tomorrow have gained
traction, the working
class had their day in
December 2016 when
Governor Lalong
injected over 4 billion
naira into the economy
when he paid up the
backlog of salary arreas
to civil servants. This
gesture has endeared
him to the Plateau
people.

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