SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT THE COMMISSIONING OF ILESA GOVERNMENT HIGH SCHOOL AND DISTRIBUTION OF KAADI OMOLUABI HELD AT THE SCHOOL’S PREMISES ON TUESDAY OCTOBER 24, 2017
THE MAKING OF THE EDUCATED PERSON
It gives me great pleasure to be in Ilesa, the City of God, for this historic occasion. We are gathered here to celebrate two notable achievements of our administration – the dedication of this imposing complex and the official presentation and distribution of Kaadi Omoluabi. We give God the glory!
After our inauguration in November 2010, one of the issues that became of serious concern for us was education. This is because what we met on ground was confounding. Many of the pupils were living like animals. This school, in particular, was notorious as a den of gangsters and juvenile cultists. It was not surprising then that the first SSSCE examination result that came immediately after our assumption of office confirmed our worst fears. Only 15.7 per cent passed the examination, that is, obtained five credits and above, including in English and Mathematics.
By February of the following year, we held an education summit presided over by Prof Wole Soyinka. All our interventions in education have come from the report of that summit.
One key point in the report is the environment of learning. A run down dilapidated school structure cannot be conducive to learning.
Our immediate task was to reclassify the schools into elementary, middle and high schools. Elementary Schools will be for the old primary 1-4, Middle School will include primary 5-6 and JSS1-3 while SSS1-3 becomes High School. We then put in place a policy to construct brand new state-of-the-art 100 Elementary Schools, 50 Middle Schools and 20 High Schools. Out of these, 20 Elementary Schools, 22 Middle Schools and 11 High Schools, including the one we are commissioning today, have been completed. In the High School category, we began the commissioning train with Wole Soyinka Government High School, in Ejigbo. Then we moved to Osogbo Government High School, Osogbo (formally Osogbo Grammar School). This was followed by Adventist Government High School Ede (formerly Seventh Day Adventist Grammar School) from where we moved to Ataoja Government High School, Osogbo (formerly Ataoja School of Science). Now we are here, in Ilesa, the City of God, in this beautiful complex, a theatre of dreams, to celebrate the hope of a better tomorrow for our children. For the pupils and teachers of this school, even more for the government, this is a dream come true. To God be the glory.
The school we are commissioning today is state-of-the-art. Many people when they see the picture, because it is so good, they argue it is computer generated graphics in 3D. Actually, it a 3,000 capacity three-in-one school. Each school has its principal with an overall senior principal.
The complex has 72 Classrooms of 49 square-meters each capable of sitting 49 students, 6 offices for study groups, 6 laboratories, 18 toilets for young ladies, 18 toilets for young men, 1 Science library, 1 Art Library, 1 Facility manager’s office, 1 Bookshop, 1 Sick Bay, 1 Bursar’s office, 3 Principals’ offices, 3 General Staff office, 1 Senior principal’s office, 1 Record store and 1 Security shed/Reception.
There is a total of 1000 square-meters of floor space Hall capable of sitting 1000 students for external examinations. This hall has storage for equipments, utility storage, a stage, office space, storage for documents, 4 female toilets and 4 male toilets.
For sporting activities, there is an Olympic sized football field, 7-lane sprinting tracks for 100 meters and 400 meters events, a pavilion and an outdoor Basketball court that doubles as tennis court.
The school has its own borehole, an electricity transformer and an ample parking space for at least 75 cars. Welcome to the new world of educational infrastructure in Osun.
The school cost N1.3 billion which includes the cost of furnishing, landscape and electronic boards.
I am happy and fulfilled that we have public schools that can compete with the best in the world and indeed, our new schools are the ones to beat around here.
All these are in fulfilment of our promise to provide functional basic education. This stems from our conviction that every child is owed basic education. It is a fundamental and inalienable right of every child. We have gone to this length and committed such huge amount on education because we are preparing for the future.
A good basic education fulfils the definition of literacy as the ability to read and write and is a solid foundation on which other superstructure of vocational training or higher education can be built. Having the ability to read means that one can receive information and systematised knowledge stored in various retrieval forms like books, digital electronic devices and by direct observation of events and phenomena. This includes the capacity to observe, understand and make sense out of nature, creation and one’s environment in the most basic form. To write means also that one can graphically reproduce one’s thought, observations, ideas and received knowledge in clear, free flowing prose, in at least one language.
We are therefore developing the new literate man, a man not just for himself but for the collective, who sees his own existence and value in light of other members of the society.
We have seen the future. Before our very eyes, advances in science and technology are changing our world and in the foreseeable future, we will see that those who are not well educated will be onlookers and will have no place in it.
Generally, the world is increasingly being defined and controlled by those who can think and bear their intellect on matter and any situation. The possibilities therefore look infinite for them.
In the next 10 years, knowledge would have transformed the world beyond recognition. Self-driving cars, running on battery, using zero fuel, and programmed with all the addresses will be in the market in commercial quantity. Nothing signposts the imminence of this new world of oil irrelevance than the recent ban placed on the production of internal combustion engines by the governments of some developed countries, including Britain, France and Korea.
In an unfolding increasingly digitised world, the mobile phone will act as medical scanner that will, more than the doctor, accurately diagnose illnesses and diseases and prescribe medication, reducing the need for hospital visits.
Robots are being developed to take over works in the farms, eliminating the need for manual labour and fuel guzzling heavy machinery. These robots will do all the physical works and more: weeding, planting, watering, carrying our security surveillance on farm and crops, deterring pests and thieves, carrying out soil test, adding soil additives, harvesting, processing, storing and transporting. The farmer just programmes and supervises.
Robots will also take over the manual labour in the construction industry.
With hydroponic technology, fruits and vegetables planted on artificial soil in trays that grow and mature in days have been developed for astronauts and are now being made available for the larger farming community.
Solar technology will become simplified and cheaper. This will make electricity abundantly available, practically eliminating the use of generators and internal combustion engines.
The overall consequence of all these is that low skill and menial jobs will be eliminated, meaning only highly skilled individuals would be relevant in this brave new world. This is the future we are preparing our children for. Any society without this vision is going to be backward and dependent when this future arrives.
What we are celebrating today is our preparation and indisputable position in that world.
These 11 high schools, by our projection, will each graduate 11,000 students every year.. In 10 years, they would have turned out 110,000 first rate students. In 50 years, that would be 550,000 world beaters, occupying strategic positions nationally and globally. This is our vision.
As a government, we have played our own part very well and we will do more if the need should arise. It is now left for parents and teachers to do their own part. Parents should provide the right examples to their children at home. They should let them realise the importance of education and that there is no reliable future outside of it. They should therefore prepare their children for school at the right time, help them dress properly and acceptably and prevent them from truancy.
Teachers should resume fully their role in the making of a completely educated person in learning and character. A teacher should deem himself or herself (and will be so adjudged by society) to have failed if his or her ward should fail examinations and be found wanting in character.
Teachers especially should show interest in the physical appearance of their pupils. It is very disheartening to see pupils in tattered, dirty, unironed and ill-fitting uniforms. Grooming is an important aspect of education. A teacher should be proud of the physical looks of their pupils.
When I went to school, our look and physical presentation were of serious importance to us. We had swagger! It distinguished us remarkably from those who did not go to school. We were stylish in the way we walk, the way we combed our hair and the way our uniform and other dressings fit our body. This affected our mannerism, phonetics, what we read, what we ate and the way we ate.
This is the grooming, the informal education that makes a complete educated person. I want to see this return to our schools. Indeed, the tenure and promotion of teachers will largely depend on the performance of their pupils, in learning and character.
I must not end this without acknowledging those who supported us and made all these possible. I will start from my able deputy, Iyaafin Grace Titi Laoye Tomori, who doubled as Commissioner for Education in our first term; the Commissioner for Education, Mr Kola Omotunde-Young, officials of the Ministry of Education and other education agencies of government; the Osun School Infrastructure Development Programme (O’Schools), our financial partners and especially our royal father, Owa Obokun Adimula of Ijesaland.
I must specially thank our financial partners, beginning from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Chief Executive Officer of Lotus Capital Limited, Mrs Hajara Adeola, the Managing directors of the STL Trustees Limited and Sterling Assets Management and Trustees Limited, as well as representatives of investors to the State’s N11.4 billion Sukuk.
The success story we are celebrating today would not have been possible without the Sukuk, an asset-based capital market debt instrument, issued by the State in October 2013 (through Osun Sukuk Company Plc) under the auspices and approval of SEC.
I must thank all Ijesa people at home and abroad, particularly those who supported us from the inception to the completion of this project. More importantly, I thank the teachers and students of this school who are the real owners and for whom we have toiled.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Osun a dara!