253 schools teachers have completed training in the teaching of Benin language and culture.
This is according to the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who said that the trained teachers would be deployed to teach Benin culture, language and history in secondary schools and selected primary schools across the state.
Mr Obaseki disclosed this over the weekend during the presentation of a book titled: “Ogiamien And The Illusion of Kingship,” written by the Esogban of Benin, Chief David Edebiri, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
EduCeleb.com recalls that the state’s Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, Osaze Osemwegie-Ero had in February announced the introduction of cultural clubs in schools to inculcate cultural norms and values in children in secondary schools.
“This will be done in such a way that the children will grow up with our cultural norms and values,” he said.
The Commissioner also decried the unfortunate situation where many children can’t communicate in Edo languages and don’t understand cultural values.
He said “Children must be assisted to correct the trend,” while also disclosing the Obaseki led administration’s intent also organise cultural competitions for the students where they will be rewarded.
Since 26th February when the first sets of clubs were inaugurated by the Commissioner, steps were being taken to replicate same across other senatorial districts before the end of April.
“Traditional rulers, Commissioners for Education and Youths, notable Edo artistes and other stakeholders in the arts and culture sector, will be at these events to encourage the students and add colour to the event,” Mr Osemwegie-Ero said back then.
Speaking on the training of teachers in that line, Governor Obaseki declared that the deployment of the teachers to the schools was in tandem with the state government’s policy to preserve Benin’s rich history and culture.
“We are emphasising the study of Benin language, culture and history to preserve it for the present and the future generations. This is to ensure that we preserve our identity,” he stated.
The governor said a major focus of his administration is to reform basic education in the state, hoping that “In few years to come, children who complete basic education in the state would have obtained quality education, similar to the quality of education obtained by the author of the book.”
According to him, “During the last book presentation by Chief Edebiri, I made a commitment to restore the teaching of history in our school curriculum. We have not only achieved the promise but happy that the Federal Government is following suit by reintroducing the teaching of history in the national curriculum.”
He commended the author of the book, whose generation, he said, has helped build local communities, the state and country.
The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, also commended Chief Edebiri, noting that the book has revealed more historical facts about the Benin monarchy by dispelling the wrong perception relating to the defeat of Ogiamien by the Oba of Benin in the 13th Century.
The Benin monarch, who was represented by the Oliha of Benin, Chief Edionwe Oliha, noted that the book was significant in presenting the real issue about Ogiamien.
“I commend the author in going the extra mile to present such a book. I have confidence that the book will serve as valuable research material for researchers and all those interested in Benin history.”
Also speaking at the event was Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonaya Onu, who said that the heritage of Benin Kingdom was significant to the social development of Nigeria, while promising to see that the Federal Government would work towards deepening the integration of science and technology in the preservation of the knowledge.
“When I visited the Benin Museum and Igun Street, where the great Benin art works are made, I was marvelled by the resourcefulness put into creating such works. The Federal Government will review how such resources can be used in deepening the development of science and technology in the country.”