The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has approved the siting of one of its Smart Schools, which would comprise comprehensive IT-enabled basic classes that would accommodate preschoolers, primary classes and junior secondary school classes with e-libraries, clinic and laboratories that make a complete school in the internet age in Kwara State.
According to the State Universal Education Board (KWSUBEB), UBEC had earlier approved the construction of the first set of the smart schools in 2019 across 20 states, but Kwara was clearly not considered because of its non-payment of the state’s counterpart funding to access UBEC funds between 2013 and 2019.
UBEC National Consultant for the project, Prof. Masud Abdulkareem, during the inspection of the proposed site for the school in Ilorin, the state capital, said that they were in the state to conclude all preliminary works, including suitability of the site, prior to the commencement of construction activities which would take 12 months.
He said: “With a smart school, a teacher at UBEC Headquarters in Abuja or anywhere in the world can teach simultaneously to students in all the schools in the country. UBEC has engaged one of the best ICT companies in the world (Huawei). It is the one to equip and provide the software for the learning materials.
“This is the second phase of the smart school project by UBEC. This team is directed by the Executive Secretary of UBEC to assess the suitability of the site. I have a team of experts that will do the geotechnical and geo-physical survey in order to establish the appropriateness and capacity of the soil texture for the foundation to be laid.
“We are lucky from what I am seeing because the first criterion is that the school must be within a community as this one. It is not in an isolated location so that security will not become a problem. We have seen that this place is secured in a fenced environment.
“So, here we don’t have the problem of suitability. The proposed smart school has three components for nursery, primary and junior secondary schools. With the programme, a threeyear old can come to school safely.
This place is ideal for the project. Within a week, we will produce the foundation engineering drawing so that the construction work will begin. “This exercise is also to hand over the place to the contractor and begin the process of mobilisation.
The school is expected to be self-sufficient in terms of water supply and electricity supply. “UBEC is giving the minimum attention to the project and will later hand it over to SUBEB after completion. The state government can begin to think of how to make the school a hub of ICT for the benefit of the state.”
Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Prof. Shehu Raheem Adaramaja said: “We appreciate the UBEC for the consideration given to us and for the selection of the contractors. We pray that the contractor will work very fast and make the facility available for the people of the state.”
The governor, he said, had only recently reset the relationship between Kwara State and UBEC by paying all the back log funds allegedly diverted by the former administration and paying all outstanding counterpart funds not accessed since 2013.