By Clement Idoko
STAKEHOLDERS at all levels of educational sector in Nigeria must ensure that infrastructural facilities in schools are deliberately planned and designed in order to promote effective teaching and learning.
This was the submission of the director of Physical Planning, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Engineer Abubakar Sadiq Sa’ad, at an occasion in Abuja, where he was conferred with “Fellowship Award” by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
While noting that infrastructural deficit has been a major challenge in both public and private schools in Nigeria, Sadiq Sa’ad, who is currently co-ordinating the realisation of the first set of “smart schools” in public primary schools in the country, said the schools would serve as models and that the commission would deploy Information Communication Technology (ICT) facilities for effective teaching and learning.
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, had also disclosed recently that the commission would soon commence the construction of 17 additional smart schools in states that are yet to benefit from the intervention.
Bobboyi, who gave a breakdown, said each of the seven smart schools located in the six geopolitical zones was constructed at approximately N600 million while N350 million each would be spent on constructing model smart schools in each state of the federation.
The UBEC boss disclosed that 20 out of the smart schools were already completed, while construction work on the remaining 17 would commence in the next one month.
“At the moment, we have seven zonal smart schools, representing all the geopolitical zones in the country; we have also started the construction of the state model schools and so far, we have constructed two in each of the geopolitical zones and one extra in the North-West because of the number of states there and the population.
“So far, we have 20. Our hope is that in the next one month we will ensure that the remaining states that do not have the model schools have them; the construction will start very soon,” he said.
He noted that the whole idea about the construction of the smart schools was to ensure that children in the country compete effectively in the 21st century, adding that in many parts of the world, e-learning has become an integral part of the school system and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.
He said while private schools in the country are already providing e-learning facilities for their pupils, the government is pushing hard to ensure that pupils in public schools have e-learning facilities irrespective of whether they can afford to pay for them.
Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech, the director, Physical Planning, UBEC, said the award would spur him to do greater works in UBEC and Nigeria as a whole.
Engineer Sa’ad said he had passion to ensure that infrastructural facilities in Nigerian schools are planned and designed in such a manner to promote effective teaching and learning.
Sa’ad, an accomplished civil engineer and an astute administrator, he has been equally involved in the design and supervision of several projects such as the UBEC zonal offices, the Digital Resource Centre and UBEC office extension.
A COREN registered Engineer; he is a member of Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NCE), Canadian Society for Civil Engineers and American Society of Civil Engineers among others.
Engineer Abubakar Sadiq Sa’ad is a strict disciplinarian and believes strongly in the principles of professional ethics and transparency.
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