Former Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has narrated how he ensured that Bayelsa Students got Shell scholarship when he was deputy governor of Bayelsa State.
Speaking as a guest at the opening ceremony of a five-day education summit in Yenagoa, Jonathan said “To tell you how important education is to me, when I was deputy governor, I had the opportunity to see the list of those shortlisted to benefit from Shell Tertiary Education Scholarship and discovered that there was no Bayelsan that made it into the list.
“So, I was forced to confront the management of Shell, and their explanation was that no Bayelsa born student passed their screening examination. From that day, I promised myself that no Bayelsa student would fail Shell scholarship examination.”
He also said he invested in the widely-criticised Almajiri school programme during his tenure as president because he considered it the best strategy to discourage the promotion of the ideologies of Boko Haram which preaches that western education for a Muslim is forbidden.
He said he conceived the idea when he learnt that majority of the young people that were indoctrinated into Boko Haram were children who had poor judgment because they had not had touch with western education.
The former president further said he invested in the Almajiri school programme because he felt it was a more sustainable approach to contain the spread of Boko Haram activities.
“Many people see the average northerner as an illiterate because they lack western education. But my take is that can a man that can memorise the entire book of Quran be considered an illiterate? That is why, many of them took offence and joined the Boko Haram campaign because they saw it as a war against a society that consider them illiterates,” he said.
He, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to consider investing more resources in developing nuclear technology in Nigeria because that is what commands respect among comity of nations in the 21st Century.
In his earlier remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Bayelsa State, Gentle Emelah, had disclosed that the Education Summit was intended to bring stakeholders together to take a critical look at the infrastructural needs in schools, availability and quality of teachers, general enrollment numbers and transition rates from primary to secondary schools in the state.
He said: “The summit is aimed at building the future of education in Bayelsa State. At this point, as a state, we must not pretend that we have not achieved our desired goals but proffer strategic framework that would improve the standard of education.“
“To prove that we are committed to improving the standard of education in the state, we have built one technical school in all the eight local government areas of the state. So, by the end of this summit, we would come up with a 15 year education development plan and policy document.”
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