Written by Odimegwu Onwumere
According to Ellen Glasgow, “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” Probably, Glasgow had Rivers State under Governor Chibuike Amaechi at heart by making that statement.
To some people, it is a wonderful idea that Governor Amaechi has contracted Educomp Solutions, an Indian conglomerate to manage the 24 model secondary schools that he is building in Rivers State. According to media reports credited to Amaechi, each of the schools that would accommodate about 1,000 students, cost the state government about N4.5bn.
We have also heard that he had taken Educomp’s team round some of the schools and his administration is garnering its gameness to handover the schools to the ‘foreigners’ before the end of this year.
As we know, Amaechi is a vibrant governor, but it is not ever good that one takes tapeworm prescription for cancer. The question has been, why the international education consultants in Rivers State?
However, we are not surprised with Amaechi’s stance because Arnold Bennett had already warned: “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”
In the civilized climes, education consultants are created to help students in foreign countries gain admission of studying in the countries where the consultants are created. The opposite of hiring foreign education consultants is biased if based on coming to manage the students of a sovereign country or state in such country.
Education consultants advise students outside the school atmosphere, and not to take the sole responsibility of taking over the affairs of the managerial work as we would soon be experiencing in the Rivers State schools when the Indian education consultants finally berths.
For those who care to listen, education consultants only offer students process that enables them a quick admission, but in the case of foreign students, they offer horizontal immigration process, and not to MANAGE them.
Education experts extend their expertise by guiding students through every step of their admission process, not by wholesomely managing the students. And this is mainly found among university or college students, and not to mere pupils who are just stopping to wear their diapers in Rivers State.
With the above narrations of the work of the education consultants, we do not think that this employ of foreign education contractors would give the Rivers State education sector a boost, but a burst.
Amaechi’s quest to handover our schools to the Indians means that he does not trust the skill of our people. And this may likely damage the pace of development in the state’s education. We are surprise that Amaechi is not bringing investors. Is this the meaning of the Public Private Partnership? (PPP). But did Amaechi ever advertise for consultants to manage these schools before telling us how far he has gone with the Indians?
Entrusting the state’s education management, for the next four years, in the hands of the expatriates, would rather mean doom than boom the governor might have been thoughtful would happen.
If the governor thought that bringing in the expatriates would help the education sector under his government, does the leadership of the government also needs expatriates before things could be got right in Rivers State? Why the expatriates whereas the state is not in dearth of qualified education professionals?
With this contraction of education in the hands of the Indians, it means that Amaechi wants to tell the people that education can be equated with the construction of roads, building of infrastructure, health centres and lots more ongoing projects which the Blackman have always reposed one hundred percent trust on the Whiteman, whereas there are many professional Black men and women loafing the streets jobless.
Now, what is going to be the work of the imported Indians? Are they going to do better than the education system here entails? Are they going to operate the Indian system of education? And how much is this project going to cost the state government? For how long are the Indians going to stay? We think the people need a holistic enlightenment on this Trojan project before our children begin to speak Indian Languages as a second mother tongue. Is this a self-imposed neo-colonization? Maybe, we also need environmental and urban development projects in the state to be managed by the Indians or Ghanaians or so on.
It is not a transformational administration in Rivers State, if the governor in his standing feels that except ‘outsiders’ are brought in, our children cannot have a qualitative education. This brings to bear why the long-queue of training Rivers teachers by foreign NGOs if they are not going to be the leaders of the ultra-modern schools that have been amplified all over the world more than Rivers State of since 40yrs plus is known to most Nigerians?
Those people and organizations talking and telling the world of the developmental strides in Rivers State anytime they visited, we are beginning to suspect if they are rented praise singers, because they cannot be praising an administration the governor is always pleading with his people to exercise patience with him over his government incapability on good governance; these praises should rather be shut up, because if there should be anything to praise, then those living in the state should be the ones to do so, because they are the people who know where the show soupcons them.
In earnest, Governor Amaechi is grousing with the transformation of the state and has not done so much to transform Rivers State and the lives of Rivers masses as few ‘power-brokers’ want people to believe.
Amaechi should henceforth focus intensively and extensively on human and infrastructural development. The ‘next four years’ he said would be used to consolidate on the projects, should not be wasted on futilities, like the importation of the Indians.
The Model Primary schools should be in use by our people. Most importantly, Amaechi should realize that nations do not grow when its sensitive area like the education sector is managed by foreign firms. What we expected Amaechi to do was to make education in the state more friendly by mandating teachers to teach in our mother tongues as most European schools do.
It is time our leaders started to think and act responsibly if we still believe that “readers are leaders of tomorrow”. People have asked Amaechi where India is in educational ranking of the world, for them to be allowed to manage the Rivers State educational system.
Why do we have a Ministry of Education in Rivers State? Does Amaechi mean that the Ministry cannot be trusted to manage the schools? If Amaechi wants Rivers State and its people to grow, he should allow our people to take up the responsibilities ourselves.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: email@example.com