Benin City — The Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) has completed training for farmers in Edo State on farm mechanisation and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
Explaining the rationale for the training, held in Benin City, the Edo State Chairman, NCGA, Donatus Imaghodor, noted that "The training will equip farmers with the tools and knowledge of how to increase and improve farm yield by deploying the right methods and techniques. This will enable them make more profit from the same size of land with less labour."
He said the input from farmers at the end of the programme will assist the state government fulfill Governor Godwin Obaseki's campaign promise to create 200,000 jobs for the youth.
"It will also assist the farmers to contribute significantly to the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and make the state the food basket of the nation," he assured.
Imaghodor expressed appreciation to Obaseki for his systematic efforts towards the development of the state especially in the area of agriculture, adding, "I appeal to the governor to help open more farmland, recognise smallholder farmers as they contribute in their little way to food security."
A farmer, who participated in the event, Imafidon Helen, expressed delight at the training, noting, "I am happy that Edo State Government is focusing on agriculture to create jobs for youth in the state."
Imafidon added, "This training has equipped us with the necessary information needed to embrace mechanised farming to enhance our productivity and increase our income with less labour."
Marketing Communication Manager, Dizengoff Nigeria, Humphrey Otalor, explained that the training was organised to enlighten the farmers and assist them improve their yield.
"Edo state is a place we fill comfortable and encouraged to empower farmers because the government has shown interest in agriculture. The government is serious about creating jobs through agribusiness."
He said the training would encourage youth in the state to go into farming and help eradicate food scarcity.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), has flagged off the training of 300 teachers drawn from 300 public primary schools in the state in the pilot scheme of the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme.
Acting Chairperson, Edo SUBEB and Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic Education, Dr. Joan Oviawe, disclosed this when executives of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) called at her office, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The Edo-BEST is a basic education reform blueprint that prioritises deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools in teaching, harmonises teaching and learning outcomes across locations and promotes an interactive classroom management model, among others.
The meeting was to get the buy-in of the leadership of the NUT and unveil how the reforms will revolutionise the basic education subsector in the state.
Oviawe said the scope of work for EDO- BEST would include governance and institutional development; teacher and curriculum development; community participation and partnership, and infrastructure and organisational development. She added that the reforms will be spread across the 18 Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs).
She emphasised that there was an urgent need to improve teacher quality and performance, increase numeracy and literacy levels, improve infrastructure as well as engender support system for school administration and management for increased efficiency.
She said the EDO-BEST programme would develop highly skilled teaching workforce, adding, "We have already selected those to be trained on how to use ICT tools such as tablets in the classrooms. This will help harmonise learning outcomes. The programme will also enhance the Edo State Basic Education Curriculum and restore public confidence in the quality of education offered in public schools."
Assuring members of the NUT that the reforms are in the best interest of the state, she said, "Government is not out to witch hunt anyone, neither are there plans to sack anybody or close down schools as is being rumoured.
"The narrative in the last few years needs to change. We should put a stop to the blame game and work together to give quality education to our children. The aim of these reforms is to develop a collaborative and support structure between teachers and government to improve the system" she said.
The SUBEB boss revealed that 300 head teachers will be selected to participate in a pilot scheme of Edo-BEST programme in 300 schools. "They will be trained to use tablets loaded with lesson notes and guides that help imbibe positive classroom management procedures to effectively drive learning outcomes," she added.
Chairman, NUT Edo State Chapter, Comrade Pius Okhueleigbe, expressed appreciation to the acting chairman of SUBEB for her efforts to reform the sector. He pledged the union's continued support to government's reforms to improve the state's education sector.
Director, Bridge Policy and Partnership for Africa, Adesuwa Ifedi, said the place of technology in ensuring better outcomes in schools is incontrovertible, assuring that the Edo-BEST programme would solve some problems of inconsistency in teaching standards.
According to her, "every other sector is using technology, education must change, teachers must follow suit; teachers are nation builders. With the use of digital lesson plans, teachers can work with prepared lesson plan to ease their burden and give more time to supervise the children and manage their classrooms."