President Jonathan flanked by Governor HSD, His Deputy and other dignitaries at the event

On the 21st of August, 2012, Yenagoa – Capital of Bayelsa State played host to Mr. President Goodluck Jonathan, GCON, GCFR. On that day, more than 100 students who had graduated from some topflight Secondary Schools gathered to have an interactive session with President Jonathan.
When Mr. President was Governor of Bayelsa State, he initiated a Special Educational Scheme christened BAYELSA MERIT SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME in September 2006. The Scheme was designed to encourage children of Bayelsa State Origin who are gifted, to acquire the best possible quality of secondary education in topflight schools across the Country.
The scheme suffered tremendous setbacks during the past four years for lack of government attention, but the Dickson administration has rekindled hope and resuscitated the momentum. Now the scope has been expanded to cover ONDO, EDO, DELTA, AKWA-IBOM States. The scholarship was an off-shoot of the School Of Gifted Children built at Otuoke in Ogbia Local Government of Bayelsa State. The ratio of beneficiaries is 75% for Bayelsa State and 25% for others.
As an expression of government’s seriousness in human capacity building, the Dickson Administration has re-named it BAYELSA STATE GIFTED CHILDREN RESTORATION EDUCATIONAL SCHEME. Over 100 students have graduated from the various schools and another batch of 200 students will be dispatched on scholarship to the various schools in Nigeria.
In line with the aggressive human capacity building programme, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has already made government’s intentions known that the TEACHER TRAINING INSTITUTE will take off in September at Okordia Zarama- Bayelsa State. The Bayelsa State College of Arts and Science has been re-established. Other Tertiary institutions have been well funded.
The recipients relieved their experiences. Timipre Shauaibu, Michael Chidinma and Daniel Koroye narrated how they suffered discrimination because of the perception that they were coming from Bayelsa State. According to him, they faced even greater difficulties when they had to learn foreign languages such as French, Yoruba and Turkish. They were however resolute so they came tops in their classes. Other challenges they confronted were dressing code, morality, exhibition of vocational skills and sports.
Collectively, the recipients expressed gratitude to His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, for helping to build a generation of intellectually sound people to provide leadership for Nigeria. Recipients also thanked His Excellency, Hon. Seriake Dickson – Governor of Bayelsa State for running with the vision of providing quality education for Bayelsa Children.
It will be recalled that on the 14th of February, during his inaugural address, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson declared a state of emergency on education. Since then, government has matched words with action. Very critical steps have been taken to show government’s resolve to fulfill the restoration promise of leveraging on human capital for the development of the State. With the present momentum, Bayelsa State is well on her way to join the enviable league of educationally advanced State in Nigeria***
Copyright: Bayelsa New Media Team August, 2012

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