OPINION: Osun Educational Reforms – Like Awolowo, Like Aregbesola…
According to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics , State of Osun now ranks highest in public primary school enrollment in the country. This report puts Osun’s children enrollment in primary school between 70 and 80 per cent, no other state in the country falls within Osun’s category while Ekiti, Delta, Cross River, Enugu states rank between 60 and 70 per cent. This is a feat made possible by Ogbeni Aregbesola’s patriotic struggle to effect a sustainable change in the educational structure of the state and with all these laudable efforts Osun will surely become the state with highest literacy level in Nigeria in the near future.
At the moment, the public schools in the state can boast of a student population of over 750,000 with virtually all parental responsibilities taken over by the Government . A general public opinion on the ongoing re-classification exercise clearly indicates that the acceptability of the new school reforms by all major stakeholder is about 90% inspite of some low level of resistance from a very little segment of the Christian body and of course the state opposition party who never wished the state well .
People of the state who sincerely and genuinely irrespective of their status want a complete revamping of the educational sector are fully in support of the policy and have continued rooting for this change.
I think it necessary i take us down memory lane a bit , before the advent of the Aregbesola’s administration, it was practically impossible for students of public schools to have matriculable results for university admission . In 2010, only three percent of candidates from the State of Osun who sat for the West African Examination Council examination scored five credits, including English language and mathematics but following the vigorous intervention of the Government within the last 34 months, there has been marked improved performance of students in external examinations, especially WASCE where Osun students have consistently moved from 34th position in 2010, to 18th position in 2011 and 8th in 2012. Osun students have also recorded improved performances in National and International competitions as compiled recently by the Ministry of Education for the State Competitiveness awards.
I challenge our various online activists and Osun CAN to tell us a state that can match the great achievements of the State of Osun in the area of education in the last 34 months and for the benefit of doubt some of the notable achievements are listed below:
– The O School intervention for infrastructural upgrade and construction of 170 model schools complete with furniture and state of art facilities.
– The O Meal program for provision of one meal a day for pupils of Elementary schools and linkages with O’REAP and Commerce.
– The free Uniform and Omoluabi Garment Factory PPP initiatives; the UNESCO endorsement and promise of support.
– The computer Tablet, Opon Imo for students of High schools
– The Human capacity development through Recruitment of 6000 teachers,training, retraining and incentives to teachers; promotion, prompt payment of salaries and allowances.
– The payment of increased Running and Examination Grants to public schools. Primary School Basic Funding Grant increased from ₦7.4m per year to ₦424m per year . Primary school running grant before this administration was N1000 monthly per school for the 1378 schools in the state. The current administration increased running cost grant to N300 per child per term for the 357,533 school pupils in the state. Exam grant was also introduced at N100 per child per term.
– Improved supply of Instructional materials to schools
– Resuscitation of Co-curricular activities in schools; O Calisthenics, educational competitions and PE.
– Almost 50% Downward review of school fees in tertiary institutions, non-discriminatory fees regime and payment of subvention.
– Upward review of Bursary and Scholarships
– Promotion of Vocational and Technical Education
– Payment of External Examination fees of final year students in public schools.
– Sponsorship of over 100 stagnated UNIOSUN Medical students to Ukraine
and lot more !
Under the first phase of the new school reforms , the Government is committed to building 100 Elementary Model schools, 50 Middle Model schools and 20 High Model schools across the state. 27 out the 170 New Model schools with state of the art facilities promised will be commissioned in the following months in spite of the state’s merged resources. This is unprecedented in the 100 years of Nigeria.
“Any revolutionary programme often meets with violent opposition from those who does not want it to succeed” – Obafemi Awolowo. This was said when he first introduced free education in 1955, he went on to say “…we even had to quell riots engineered by political opponents who did not want us to succeed”
Aregbesola might be vilified for his principled position, but you cant fault the altruistic and patriotic motivation for his actions which will no doubt take Osun to its promise land.
Omowaiye Oluremi via Facebook