It is the belief in some quarters that anything free cannot be qualitative. It is believed that quality is often sacrificed on the altar of quantity. But this is not true as far as the free education policy of the Delta State government is concerned. In the 15 years of democratic governance in the state, education has remained top on the list of priority of government in terms of attention. Education is not just free, but manifestly qualitative. Modern school buildings and state-of-the-art facilities have replaced the hitherto dilapidated school buildings inherited from successive military regimes. Huge investments have been made in education to make learning a pleasure for pupils and students such that the old order whereby parents prefer private schools to public schools have been revered. The new look model primary and secondary schools have also enhanced the beauty of the environment. The interest of the Uduaghan-led government is not however just about building schools. He has gone the extra mile to ensure the schools are attended by those they are meant for. The Education Marshal initiative, popularly known as EduMarshal, is a product of such strong desire to ensure children of school age are in school. The EduMarshal became imperative because according to the governor, “education is the bedrock of development. Without a properly educated society, we cannot have advancement in our society”. The governor was concerned that as at the time the Edu-Marshal was introduced, “we believe that up to 40 per cent of the children that are supposed to be in school are not in school”. Stella Blaize, Special Assistant to the Governor on Education, was happy that the EduMarshal had achieved a success rate of about 85 per cent. Patrick Muoboghare, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, says apart from the infrastructure and equipment, teachers are being trained and re-trained “and are doing well because they are being supervised”. Muoboghare says education in Delta State is attractive because it has been able to match its free education policy with quality.
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