Building Capacity Of Education Marshals In Delta State Through In-House Training

By Sunday Egede/Scholar Ossai
IT is an incontrovertible fact that the present administration in the stateunder the resourceful leadership of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, has done excellently well in the education sector of the state economy since it came on board almost eight years ago. The administration has transformed the educational sector of the state (from primary to tertiary levels) through the provision of state-of-the-art infrastructural facilities that have promoted effective teaching and learning in the school system.
Governor Uduaghan has significantly changed the face of education in the state through the sincere implementation of the educational policies and programmes of his administration. One of such policies is the Delta Education Marshals (DEM) which is reportedly being replicated in some states of the federation as a result of its success story in Delta State. Unarguably, the DEM policy was formulated by the state government to eradicate ‘street culture’ in the state by bringing about ‘learning culture’. The educational policy was mooted to support the development of education-related learning in young people of school age in the state.
To successfully implement this laudable educational policy, Education Marshals popularly known as EduMarshals were recruited by the state government to effectively cover the 25 local government areas in the state. The EduMarshals were given specific mandates which include the detection and prevention of truancy among students; the apprehension of school age child hawking or selling in stores or shops during school hours; maintenance of school hours surveillance and arrest, detain and investigate and/or return or register any person of school age found outside school premises during school hours.
Other functions of theEduMarshals are the provision of intelligence information to relevant ministries, police and stakeholders on any matters relating to a child; to make a child under 18 years of age to attend school or learn a trade (skills acquisition); to ensure that the streets of Delta State are free of students during school hours and to carry out publicity and awareness campaigns of its functions. Though the EduMarshals have been doing well since the introduction of the educational policy as the number of out of school children in the state has tremendously reduced, there was, however, the need to build their capacity through in-house training programme which would enable them (theEduMarshals) to consolidate the success story they had already recorded.
There is, also, the need for a robust synergy between the EduMarshals and critical stakeholders in the education sector of the state economy. This may have informed the reason behind the in-house capacity building programme of EduMarshals/meeting with Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs) in the 25 local government areas of the state. Speaking during the programme, the Executive Assistant to Delta State governor on Education Matter, Stella Blaize called on EduMarshals in the state not to collect any form of gift or monetary inducement from anybody in the cause of performing their official responsibilities.
According to her, EduMarshals in the state should continue to do their job conscientiously well without anticipating any reward or appreciation from anybody, warning that any one of them caught asking for gratification would be shown the way out.”I have a very big vision for the Education Marshal Policy of the state government but everybody (all the EduMarshals) has to play his or her roles well” Blaize said, adding that she was not expecting anybody to appreciate what she was doing.
The Executive Assistant who is, also, the State Coordinator of the EduMarshal programme urged all EduMarshals in the state to work collectively in order to consolidate the success story of the educational policy in the state.In doing this, she said, they (EduMarshals) should work together with the Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs) in their various units and zones in order to successfully eradicate street culture by bringing about learning culture in the state.
In his remarks during the ceremony, the Director, Inspectorate, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Asaba, Mr. Gorsuch Omodu enjoined CIEs in the state to take proactive measures that would promote academic standard in their respective areas of jurisdiction.Omodu who was speaking during the programme organized by the Executive Assistant to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan on Education Matters, Stella Blaize, said that one of the ways they could promote academic standard was through routine inspection of schools under them.
According to him, Chief Inspectors of Education should not be arm chair CIEs, adding that they should do what is officially expected of them by being alive to their responsibilities, even as he urged them to do all within their powers to enhance academic standard in the state.
He disclosed that primary and secondary education in the state was free, adding that “we do not want to hear that a Principal or Head Teacher in any of the public schools in the state is collecting money under any pretext from students and pupils”.
Speaking further, the Director stressed the need for EduMarshals to synergize with the CIEs to enable them succeed in the discharge of their assigned duties, adding that they (EduMarshals) should be civil in their approach to issues in the cause of performing their responsibilities, even as he lauded Stella Balize who is, also, the State Coordinator of EduMarshals for the success story of the educational policy of the state government.
Speaking separately, during the ceremony, some of the CIEs called for a robust partnership among stakeholders in the education sector of the state economy, pointing out that EduMarshals should cooperate with them (CIEs), just as they stressed the need for CIEs to educate principals and head teachers on the need to partner with EduMarshals in order to achieve government set goals in the education sector.
During the ceremony, a consultant to EduMarshals in the state, Mr. Ernest Ossai tutored the EduMarshals on what to do in order to consolidate the success story of the educational policy of the state government by imparting on them, some skills and knowledge that would enable them(EduMarshals)keep track with their assigned mandates.