The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has rewarded 20 teachers in the state for their outstanding performance in adapting to the technology-driven EdoBEST@home initiative in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.
The governor also launched the Edo Supporting Teachers to Achieve Results (Edo STAR) Teaching Fellows Programme, a three-year intensive training and field experience programme for teachers and aspiring teachers who will be transited into the State Civil Service on completion of the programme.
At an event organised to mark the 2020 World Teachers Day with the theme, ‘Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future’, the governor said anyone without requisite training will not be allowed to teach in schools in the state.
He said that the EdoBest@Home initiative which was launched on April 27, 2020, offered each pupil an opportunity to access learning materials remotely from the website of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), virtual learning platform through WhatsApp groups and audio channels.
Obaseki noted, “Within the period of COVID-19 lockdown, over 7000 virtual learning classrooms were created from over 9000 physical classrooms. Approximately, 20,000 pupils a week took the daily virtual quizzes.
“I am really amazed because if anyone had told me that our teachers will be able to adapt to the usage and navigation of these various devices from remote platforms, I would have said no because these were the same teachers touted as if they knew nothing.”
“I want to congratulate and thank all of the teachers for your ability to be technically-savvy, for the confidence you now show and the empowerment which has enabled you to do your work better. It is not always about money. It is about fulfilment. You are not just a teacher but co-parents and co-guardians to our children and wards. You shape our children and in return, they shape our society,” he added.
On the fellowship programme, he said, “To further institutionalize the EdoBEST program, we would be launching the Edo STAR Teaching Fellows program. This is a unique 3-year Fellowship Program, designed for teachers and aspiring teachers in Primary and Junior Secondary Schools.
“The STAR fellowship program aims to train and groom a new generation of school teachers who are passionate, technologically-savvy, transformative and societally conscious about nation-building through education.
“It will expose participants to professional teaching skills, academic learning opportunities leading to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDE) in Education for those without teaching credentials.”
The governor praised one of the awardees, Mrs Ruth Ani, a beneficiary of the N-Power Programme, for her dedication even when she was not an employee of the state government.
Mrs Ani got the sum of N1 million and was made the first candidate to be selected into the Edo STAR Teaching Fellows Programme which is a direct pathway into the civil service based on an outstanding performance.
In a goodwill message, Head Teacher, Atebheda Primary School, Agbede, in Etsako West Local Government Area, Mr Nasir Balarabi, commended the governor for the initiative and for adequately motivating teachers during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.