UNILORIN Students Demand for PC, 2 Years After Payment

Students at the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) have demanded that the university administrators provide them with PC tablets they paid for prior to the 2013/2014 academic session.

The students stated that school fees for new students into the university of Ilorin was around N37, 000. However, the fee was increased to about 58, 000 at the start of the 2013/2014 session when Vice Chancellor Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali implemented the one student, one PC tablet project, which promised to issue a PC tablet to each newly admitted student.

In a statement signed by the Students’ Union Government in 2014, the leadership of the union explained, “at the beginning of this academic session, the Students’ Union and the University management agreed on some terms as regards improving the IT skills of the students and staff of the University. In so doing, the University is set to go E. Going fully into the electronic world brings the need for PC Tablets for students.”

However, the One Student, One Tab project appears to have hit a snag as thousands of students are yet to be issued tablets which they already paid for.

“The issuance of tabs started with our set,” a final year student of the Faculty of Social Sciences told our correspondent. “Most of us were lucky, so also the set after us, but it has been a sad case for the 2015/2016 session, those who are now in their second year,” he added.

SaharaReporters learned that the university administration, unable to provide the tablets for students in the 2015/2016 set, promised to do so before the end of the session’s second semester.

“Promise after unmet promises,” screamed an angry second-year student who spoke with our correspondent. “They first said they would give us the tablet after our 100 level second semester exam, but we didn’t see anything. During the break, again, they promised that we would get it the first week of resumption into our new level. This is about the seventh week since we resumed and we’ve not seen anything. They normally speak to us through the SUG, and now we hear some SUG people saying we will get our tabs before the semester runs out.”

The Student Union appears to be running out of patience with the university administration. In a statement released by its leadership and circulated amongst students in November, the student leadership stated, “some weeks back, the Union released an official statement through the General Secretary that bothered [sic] on the PC Tablets, where we stated that the Tablets should be available within a specified date. It is, however, imperative at this point to enunciate that the time frame we gave was due to the promises made to us by the Management. Frankly, we want to assert that the promises made to us by the Management have not been delivered; one of the reasons we were told is the fluctuation in the economic market that happened the last session.”

Signed by the Union President, Shobowale Lukman, and the PRO, Omotosho Ahmed, the statement noted that the student union had employed all negotiating means. “It is safe to say the Management has not been up and doing on the promises made to the Union.”

PRO Ahmed told Sahara Reporters that, as complaints from students rose last month, “we thought we should make it formal, and then we instructed faculty presidents to forward their signed complaints to the Union. Then the Union, on behalf of the faculties, wrote to the Management. We got a call from the Management, urging us to be calm and assuring us that the tabs would be issued before the end of the semester. But you know we cannot keep quiet because students paid for these things.”

The student union has confirmed that some of the PC Tablets have become available, but they stated that the number represents a small percentage of the university’s obligation.

Some final year students who got their tabs at the inception of the project complained about the substandard nature of the tabs.“I don’t understand why we paid that much for a tab that, after a few weeks, the touchpad had stopped functioning,” one of the students said. Another second-year said, “We paid about N36, 000 for this tab that we’ve not been issued, and the newly admitted, 2016/2017 set that is, are paying about N50, 000.”

Some students said they were not happy that the school made it compulsory for all students to pay for the tablets. “Paying for these low-quality tabs should be optional,” another final year student said. “But, go to the school portal, new students wouldn’t have access to their course registration form until they’ve made payment for the tab and one Wi-Fi service that the coverage doesn’t go beyond Lecture Theatre.”

We Are Sowing Fruitful Seeds In Education System – Aregbesola

…Says Osun WASSCE has improved by 120%

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Monday said his administration has succeeded in uplifting the standard of education in the state with over one hundred improvement recorded in the last six years.

He said his government has achieved modest improvements in the performance of students in the WASSC examinations since assumption of office.

Governor Aregbesola made the statement while declaring open the 3-day Education Quality Assurance Training Workshop being organized by Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency, at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) conference hall, Abere, Osogbo.

Governor Aregbesola who titled his speech, “Back to the Future of Education”, said his government has tremendously revived and brought in roadmap in education system in the state as being manifested in efforts made to resuscitate the sector.

Aregbesola said the performance of students in the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, WASSCE under his watch had improved tremendously with 46.30% improvement compare to statistics met in 2010.

He said the performance of the students in the terminal examinations had witnessed a significant improvement and skyrocketed from 21.68% met by his administration in 2010 to 46.30% this year.

Explaining the rationale behind strides being made in the education system, Aregbesola said the state took 11.6billion Zukuk bond to change the face of education in the state.

According to him, the step taken was to ensure that the state is being liberated from backward educational policies being put in place by the successive administrations.

Governor Aregbesola recalled the state of education on his assumption of office in 2010 which he described as deplorable and dilapidated with appalling and decadent infrastructures.

He said, “our government made a concrete resolution to revive the decadence in the education sector having being informed on the need to prioritise education.

“It is on this template that our government resolved on the need to building uncommon legacies at all levels of education system by nurturing future leaders.

“We have also adopted overhaul policies aimed at repositioning the education sector and bring in innovations to aid teaching and learning and as well rescue the debilitating future of our children.

“Our government is succeeding in the construction of 20 state-of-the-arts High schools, 50 Middle schools and 100 Elementary schools across the state.

Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Osun Education , Dr. Isiaka Owoade commended governor Aregbesola for leading the state towards educational sustainability.

He said education in Osun has received a tremendous amount of attention since the inception of the Aregbesola administration.

According to him, Governor has demonstrated an unparalleled love and passion for education as this gesture had been manifested in the construction of new schools, refurbishment of dilapidated schools, creation of three education districts, increase in running grants to schools, school feeding programme (O’meal), school chairs and desks among other interventions.

“Since education is the foundation upon which the fortunes of a society rests, thus, having invested so much in education, Mr. Governor went ahead to create Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency, a step in the right direction to ensure that the state gets value from her numerous interventions.

Speaking on the activities of the agency, Owoade said, “our agency was established to ensure that the processes of teaching and learning are conducted in a fashion to deliver the highest standard quality in content and that the students produced are of sound character.

“Our agency has been ensuring that discipline in our schools is curtailed and that our students are properly guided and focused.

“We have worked out strategy for this and our home-grown education marshals fully trained in morality enforcement will soon be deployed.

“Parts of our commitment to education revolution in the state was to drastically improve the performance of our students in the various terminal examinations.

He therefore assured the state of better quality service delivery, saying poor productivity will be frowned at as appropriate measures had been put in place to champion zero tolerance for lateness and absenteeism.

Zonal and Local Inspectors Of Education Charged To Brace Up

Zonal and Local Inspectors of Education in the state of Osun have been called to wake up to their responsibilities of ensuring proper monitoring of schools across the state so as to achieve maximum results in the education sector.

Chairman, Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency, Dr Isiaka Ayo Owoade made the call during a meeting he held with the zonal local inspectors of education across the state.

He said proper monitoring of schools is very important in order to achieve standard education and the correction of overall evil vices among students.

He assured that guidelines and modalities on how to properly monitor the schools and their qualities will be set so as to achieve maximum results.

The Chairman said the state government will no longer fold its arms and watch the education sector deteriorate, saying that the attitude of hooliganism and laziness among students especially in high schools must be curbed.

Dr Owoade charged the Zonal Inspectors of Education and Local Inspectors to be up and doing so that Osun students will be able to compete favourably with their peers both nationally and internationally, stressing that the state is now at a stage where productivity must be achieved.

The meeting, which had the secretary of the agency, Mr Lawrence Oyeniran in attendance, also featured the review of the 2012 to 2016 SSCE results as well as the review of ZIE’S and LIE’S schools inspection reports.


Aregbesola Tasks Teachers To Engage Students In Extracurricular Activities

Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola has urged teachers in the state to create and engage students in secondary schools in extracurricular activities so as to prevent them from involving in nefarious activities.

The Governor said this during the grand finale of a debate organised by Segun Adegoke Youth and Development Foundation (SAYDEF) for secondary school students in the state held at the Ikire campus of Osun State University.

Aregbesola who was represented by the Executive Secretary of Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency, Dr Ayodele Owoade urged the teachers to be committed to their jobs and assured them that the arrears of their salaries would be paid.

The governor commended the founder of the SAYDEF, Mr Segun Adegoke for his positive impact on the youth and his contributions to the betterment of the lives of other people in the state.

At the end of the debate, Regina Mundi Girls Secondary School, Iwo emerged the overall winner. Greys International School, Ede won the second position while Deeper Life International School, Agunbelewo Osogbo came third. The winners got cash prize and learning materials.

Owland National School, Olupona came 4th in the competition while Fatimah High School, Ikire came 5th and they also received cash and other consolation prizes.

The founder of the SAYDEF, Mr Segun Adegoke said he set up the foundation to motivate youths and encourage them to engage in intellectual activities.

Photonews: Aregbesola Commissions Community Government High School

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was present with his deputy, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori, and other government officials and stakeholders, during the Commissioning of Ojo/Aro Community Government Middle and High Schools/Maize Day Celebration at Ojo/Aro Community Egbedore Local Government on Tuesday 18-10-2016.

See pictures below;


46% Performance Improvement Of Our Students In WAEC Justifies Our Huge Investment In Education – Osun Govt

The Government of Osun on Friday said the 46.30 percent performance of its students in the 2016 West Africa Examination Council Examinations confirms its huge investment in the education sector.

The government said for a state that once fell to a woeful 6 percent performance prior the Rauf Aregbesola administration to move up to 46.3 percent aptly illustrates the fact that the government’s various interventions in education are paying off.

A statement by the Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor said that the government is however not yet satisfied or resting on its oars until the state emerges the best state in the country in external examinations.

The statement, signed by the Bureau’s Director, Semiu Okanlawon, noted that the 2016 WAEC results indicate that the 2016 performance rating remains the highest and the best in 13 years.

In 2015, results of the WASCE showed that Osun ended up with 21. percent in performance.

The details of the results from WASCE showed that Osun presented for the examination, a total of 36,678 students with 18,318 males and 18,360 females.

Out of these, 8,329 males secured Credits in at least 5 subjects including English and Mathematics while 8,654 females candidates secured credits in English and Mathematics totaling 16,983 that got 5 credits with Mathematics and English.

The state had registered 48,845 candidates the previous year, 2015 with 25,347 males and 23,498 female candidates. Out of these, 5,314 male candidates got 5 credits and and above in Mathematics and English while 5,276 female candidates secured at least 5 Credits including Mathematics and English making a total of 10,590 to make the 21.68 percent performance of 2015.

The Bureau said Osun, under the Rauf Aregbesola administration has recorded gradual upwards move from the abysmal performances due to the various interventions in the sector.

The statement said that for instance, the state has discouraged enrollment of students whose performances in internal examinations were nothing to write home about adding that this has compelled many of the students to change their orientations towards learning.

“Other novel interventions such as provision of stand-alone Tablet of Knowledge (Opon Imo) to all students writing WAEC each year has made learning much easier. With the introduction of this tablet, students now spend quality times both in and out of classroom situations. The result is that there is no dull moment for every student who is desirous of true education,” the Bureau’s statement added

Better learning environment, the statement added, has also contributed in no small measure to the improved results.
“So, far, Osun has completed1,694 classrooms in the existing elementary, middle and high schools; providing accommodation for 84,700 pupils at 50 pupils per classroom. We have provided for them more than 100,000 desks and chairs, toilets and boreholes.

“Today, the Wole Soyinka Government High School, Ejigbo, Ataoja Government School of Science, Osogbo, Osogbo Government High School, Osogbo, Adventists Government High School Ede, have been completed with Ilesa Government High School, Iwo Government High School, Unity/Fakunle Government High School, Osogbo and others nearing completion,” the statement added.

The government expressed confidence that in the years ahead, Osun’s students are going to emerge best examples in true learning, adding that with the reforms already put in place, the state is on its path to the path of educational glory.

We Have No Regrets Focusing Our Resources On Education – Aregbesola

*Unveils Church’s classrooms in honour of Ex-Gov, Akande

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun on Wednesday said his government has no regrets whatsoever committing the largest chunk of the state’s resources to changing the face of education.

He said his government is preparing the state’s future leaders for the next 25 years in what the government wants them to be in a new world order.

The Governor spoke at the unveiling of a new block of 10 classrooms built by the Anglican Church in honour of former Governor of Osun and a former chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande.

Aregbesola said, “Education, by far, has commanded our greatest engagement and resources and we owe no one any apology over this,” adding, “As I often let people know, we are preparing for the next 25 years, what we want our children to become and where we want them to be in an increasingly digitised and fiercely competitive world.”

The Governor said that the dedication of the classrooms resonates with the vision of his government’s education programs.

He added, “Osun was the cynosure of all eyes when President Muhammadu Buhari came to commission the state of the art Government High School, Osogbo, just one of the 3,000 pupils-capacity 20 high schools our administration is building. The others being 900 pupils-capacity each 100 elementary schools and 50 middle schools.”

The Governor regretted that education has failed to achieve its purpose in many individuals noting this is the root of many problems confronting the society today.

“We are in trouble today, we are under-developing and are at war with each other, as a people, because we have forgotten these fundamentals.

“Any educational system or any faith, for that matter, whose goal is not to develop and bring harmony to human society by first cultivating human intellect and then imbue man with a higher moral standing, is not worth its estate and will soon be discarded into the dustbin of history. Same will happen to any faith that continues to foment trouble and divisiveness in human society,” the governor warned.

He explained that education serves the min to fit in and live successfully in this earthly realm adding that humans are already projecting to colonise other planetary bodies.

Speaking earlier, the former Governor of Osun state, Akande in whose name the school was commissioned attributed decadence and immorality in Nigerian schools to the forceful take-over of the missionary schools by the past successive military governments.

Akande said the consequence of the military take-over of the schools across the country resulted in the displacement of people with moral integrity by fraudsters, drug barons, thugs and the vagabonds from political leadership space.

The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress asserted that the major reason why the military took over schools from missionaries was to lay the foundation for their own immorality and corruption.

According to him, whether in Islamic schools or in any evangelical learning centres, all Missionary schools known to Nigerians were institutions for moral instructions.

He said: “Military intervention in governance itself is immoral and ungodly. Those Nigerian military adventurists, who forcefully seized power in Nigeria, deliberately came to violently loot our resources.

“In order to lay the foundation for their stupendous immorality and corruption, the military therefore had to snatch schools from the missionaries and to retire from the inherited public life with immediate effect men and women with some moral credentials who were old products of the missionary schools.

“Consequently, today, the fraudsters, the drug barons, the thugs and the vagabonds compete effectively and successfully to displace gentlemen and women of moral integrity from political leadership space.

“The overall result of the military interventions in governance in our polity is the pain Nigeria suffers today from lawless and lackadaisical attitudes of everybody to work.

“The resultant effect of the populace’s criminal attitude to work is a major plank providing the bedrock for the ongoing economic recession in our country.”

In his remarks, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria ( Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, said religion remains a veritable tool for the promotion of peaceful cohabitation and tolerance in the society.

Okoh, who frowned at religious crises in some parts of the country, expressed hope that, with a Christian faith building a school in honour of a Muslim statesman, Nigeria would soon get out of religious vendetta.

He described Akande as a “True Muslim whose ideology and faith have impacted greatly in the lives of fellow beings without discrimination.”

Prisms Of Empowerment And Hope, By Akintunde E. Akinade

In September 2016 ,young Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook described by Okey Ndibe as “one of the central deities in the global revolution called social media” held the Nigerian nation spellbound for about three days.
He not only jogged on Fashola’s bridge connecting Victoria Island and Ikoyi, he also walked freely on the streets of Yaba and enjoyed what looked like a sumptuous meal of pounded yam and fresh fish.

At the end of his short adventure to Nigeria he concluded that the technological and entrepreneurship spirit of young Nigerians are simply stupendous.
This observation captures a non-negotiable fact about the Nigerian terrain. It is a nation blessed with abundant natural and human resources.

The perplexing paradox however is that in spite of these resources, Nigeria is still groping in the dark about creative ways to harness these God-given resources. My simple thesis in this article is that education holds the perennial lynchpin for unlocking human potentials and aspirations. I am not making this assertion in vacuum; rather, it is connection with the recent official commissioning of Osogbo Government High School by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 1, 2016. I will use this development as a credible and empirical litmus test for making my case for a new appropriation of education in Nigeria.
This article seeks to contextualize and problematize the issue at stake within the Nigerian polity. It also proffers some insights on how to move the country forward. This article underscores the paradox of the Nigerian state. It is a nation that is confronted with many challenges on several fronts, but yet, it is a nation with so much promise. I submit that quality education is an essential key to sustainable long-term socio-economic transformation. It seems to be that Governor Rauf Aregbesola understands the importance of education in the overall development of the Nigerian nation, hence his unalloyed commitment to his initiatives in education.

Recently in his contribution to the Private Sector Summit at the United Nations Global Assembly, with the theme: ‘Securing the Way Forward,’ Wale Tinubu, the Chief Executive of Oando Plc., asserted that education, innovation, and good governance remain key facets to socio-economic growth. I affirm without any equivocation that education is the most powerful empowerment tool within any society. It simply provides people with choices. Education provides an auspicious opportunity to embark on a new narrative in the State of Osun and in the entire nation. It is the best ingredient for reinventing the “Nigerian project.” Education is more than textbooks and knowledge by rote; rather, it provides a worldview and a new orientation.

I recently visited Edgewood College, in Lekki, Lagos. The founder and Executive Director of the school, Mrs. Kehinde Phillips beamed when she talked about the achievements of the graduates from the school. Students at the school come from different socio-economic backgrounds, but they graduate with a new sense of empowerment. They know that they can change the world through the power of education.
The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

Right from an early stage, Yoruba people memorize a nursery rhyme that simply states that: Bata re a dun ko ko ka to ba ka iwe e, meaning you will walk with commanding and resounding steps if you take your academic work seriously. This is an effective way of affirming that through education, people can achieve upward socio-economic mobility. This is a powerful process of “conscientization” to borrow a word from the Brazilian educator Paulo Fierre or building what Niyi Akinnaso has described as “literacy and individual consciousness.”

The motto of Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife is “Learning and Culture.” Education is not about abstract knowledge but it should contribute to the development of the virtues of an omoluabi. The lessons garnered throughout such an educational odyssey become part of what the ancient Latin scholars dubbed vade mecum (carry me wherever you go) for life. In light of this perspective, education becomes imole aye, the light of the world to borrow a phrase from the singer Oladotun Aremu. This is a worldview that shines in the midst of darkness.
All over the globe, Nigerian students are raising the educational bar. Recently, a 21-year old Nigerian emerged as University of Kent’s most outstanding graduating student. In 2012, the US Bureau of Statistics affirmed that Nigerians are the most educated immigrant community in the United States. Nigerians have overtaken Indians and Pakistanis who had previously basked in the glory of the most educated immigrant community in the United States. As I was writing this article, Hillary Clinton sent a message on twitter: “I want to give a big THANK YOU to my Doctor who travels everywhere with me, Dr. Oladotun Okunola. I wouldn’t be here without him. Literally.” One can conveniently write a compelling monograph on the educational and professional achievements of Nigerians all over the globe.

In a season of dire recession, there are many daunting challenges. Governor Rauf Aregbesola must take these challenges very seriously. As someone who has taught in educational institutions in Nigeria, the United States, and Qatar, I know that these are formidable challenges. However, in spite of various fissiparous forces, it seems to me that State of Osun has made a bold step in re-positioning and re-affirming the legacy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo by pulling resources together to construct several magnificent educational institutions all over the state. A journey of one thousand miles begins with one step. After all, an African proverb states that “by crawling, a child learns to stand.” A step in the educational path is the right one. The building of human capital remains a sine qua non for any society.

Many African leaders from Mandela to Nyerere understood the remarkable power of education in transforming individuals, communities, and the world. In the midst of meager resources, both Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Governor Rauf Aregbesola have embarked on impressive educational projects.

The former started Osun State University with campuses in different parts of the State while the later has demonstrated his commitment to educational advancement by providing a new road map for schools in the State. The new building projects are empirical testimonies to his dream and vision. He has also supported an initiative under the Obafemi Awolowo Educational Foundation for the recruitment of indigenes of the State of Osun to Education City in Doha, Qatar. Three students from the state are currently studying in three universities in Doha. These are Georgetown University, Northwestern University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

It is my sincere hope that this laudable program will continue to attract young, enterprising, and academically gifted Nigerians. I have witnessed the tremendous positive growth and development of all the recruited students. Abdulqudus Sanni, the student at Georgetown University is already working on breaking the school’s academic record.

In the right educational context, Nigerians would flourish and excel. I solemnly remain a prisoner of hope concerning the power of education for empowerment in the State of Osun. The official commissioning of the massive Osogbo Government High School speaks loudly to the audacity of hope in the midst of rampant pessimism, cynicism, and grotesque fabrications.
We ignore or dismiss the transformative potential of education at our peril. As Isiaka Adeleke, the former Governor of the State of Osun rightly said in his piece on Osun at 25, the beat continues!

• Akinade, an ordained minister in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, is a Professor of Theology at Georgetown University’s Edmund E. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He is the author of Christian Responses to Islam in Nigeria: A Contextual Study of Ambivalent Encounters (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan Press, 2014). Within the American Academy of Religion, he serves on the Editorial Board on its flagship journal, The Journal of the American Academy of Religion (JAAR) and also on the International Connections Committee.

EDITORIAL: Osun Setting The Pace In Education

For several years to come the tangible achievements of Ogbeni Aregbesola’s administration in the state of Osun especially in education sector will continue to be appreciated by those who value education as the bedrock of growth and development in any society.

The massive investment in education by Ogbeni’s administration tells much about Osun’s helmsman’s belief in education as an incontrovertible and veritable means of transforming the society. For nothing surpasses human capital development in development indices. For any leadership to build a greater future for the incoming generations it must invest massively in education. Thus for the discerning minds this realisation most surely informs the passionate commitment of Mr. Governor of the state of Osun to educational advancement in his state.

Hate him or like him, no reasonable and objective mind will turn a blind eye to the tangible achievements of Ogbeni Aregbesola in the educational sector in Osun. The investment in educational infrastructure is quite noticeable; making many to marvel at such level of achievement in a state with meagre resources. Of course only a prudent manager of resources can achieve this in a state like this. Also highly commendable is the ‘O MEAL’ (free feeding) programme in the state which has also now become a federal policy. That the federal government thought it right to adopt this policy testifies much to the pace setting status of Osun in educational advancement in the country.

What’s more? Much as we cannot name all here, the free uniform to pupils is also worthy of mention. So also is the ‘Opon Imo’ (tablet of knowledge) designed and distributed free for senior secondary school students in the state so as to make them perform well in WASSCE, a programme that UNICEF also recently signified intention to copy. All this and other fantastic education promoting programmes have earned Aregbesola accolades both locally and internationally especially the state of the earth school structures. Most recent of such came from the current Minister of Health in the country, Professor Isaac Adewole who did an inspection tour of both the ongoing and completed school projects in the state of Osun recently.

In the Minister’s words; “I am very happy to see this edifices in my state and as a matter of fact, Osun has proven to be a pacesetter in educational infrastructure. This state is aggressively building extraordinary and memorable legacies in the educational system. This is a deliberate investment targeted at taking people out of poverty. As a an educationalist, I have traveled far and wide, but there’s no other place in Nigeria where public schools are constructed as being done in Osun. It’s my hope that with this innovative ideology and modernity put together to aid education system, Osun is sure of greater future…..” The minister had said this amongst others in expressing his surprise and delight at the pace of work going on in Osun in the education sector.

The above coming from the Minister and with the emulation at higher levels some of Aregbesola’s educational policies there is no disputing the fact that Osun under the leadership of Ogbeni Aregbesola has become a pace-setter as fas as policies and programmes that of lasting legacies are concerned. We can only wish him complete success!

Education: Aregbesola As An Exemplar, By Mohammed Haruna

Last Thursday, September 1, all roads led to Osogbo, the Osun State capital. The occasion was part of the state’s celebration of the Silver Anniversary of its creation by military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, on August 27, 1991, along with 11 other states, namely, Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Taraba and Yobe. The significance of Osun State’s celebration lied, in part, in the fact that it was the only one President Muhammadu Buhari participated in.

The president’s participation was by way of visiting a couple of the state’s newly built primary and secondary schools before finally commissioning the Osogbo Government High School. The school must be one of the largest, most beautiful and most well equipped secondary schools in the country.

Actually the school, as the state’s governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, explained in his welcoming address, is three-in-one, each with a student population of 1,000, its own principal and staff but with an overall supervising principal and sharing academic and sports facilities.

The High School may be top of the line but it is only one of a dozen or so high schools that Governor Aregbesola has built or rebuilt as part of his comprehensive restructuring – today’s buzz word for every politician seeking relevance! – of primary and secondary school education in the state to give its students the quality education they need to transform their state from Third World status to First in one generation. (It reminds you, doesn’t it, of the famous title of the autobiography of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s late prime minister, who lifted his country from Third World to First in one generation).

When Aregbesola first became the state’s governor in November 2010, he inherited a public school system typical of public state system all over Nigeria – dilapidated, over populated, under staffed, under equipped, and badly managed schools. As a man who apparently believed the key to human progress is education, the governor resolved to end the rot.

As the man himself told it in his welcome speech on Thursday, the first step he took in ending the rot was to convene an education summit for the state chaired by no less an icon of the virtue of knowledge than Wole Soyinka, black Africa’s first Literature Nobel Laureate.

Out of the summit emerged four elements for the transformation of the state’s public schools: their feeding and health programme, reclassification of the schools into elementary, middle and high schools, infrastructural development and the provision of what Americans call edtech (the use of technology to drive education) but which the state called Opon-Imo (Yoruba for tablet of knowledge) for all students.

The building of the high school President Buhari commissioned last Thursday fell into the third category in which so far the Aregbesola administration has constructed or reconstructed 28 elementary schools, 22 middle schools and four high schools, with another 14 virtually completed.

Aregbesola was, of course, not the first to convene an educational summit. Long before him, the Northern Governors’ Forum did so in Kaduna. Individually the governors also made the right noises about ending their region’s notorious educational backwardness. To date their actions have not matched their noises. Instead, the region has dropped even further behind than it was during the First Republic.

Educationally backward as the North was back then, its leaders, with its premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello, in the forefront, walked their talk about bridging the gap between the region and the rest of the country. Meaning, they invested heavily in primary and secondary schools so that the region could produce quality materials qualified for admission into any tertiary institution any where in the world.

With all due humility, I can boast that I am one of those materials. I and my cousin, retired Major-General Mohammed Garba, and a childhood friend, Professor Mustapha Zubairu of Federal University of Technology, Minna, attended Native Authority primary schools in Kano, first in Tudun Wada for the first four years from 1957 and finished in Kuka Primary School after another four, having had to repeat my final year because I failed to gain entrance into a secondary school in my third year in 1963.

Kuka was located between Sabon Gari where we lived and Fagge. It was a walking distance from our home on Niger Road. All around us were Igbo and Yoruba most of whose children attended private and mission schools. In the evenings of weekdays all of us attended private lessons to improve on our chances of doing well in school. I remember we used to beat the children who went to private and mission schools in the evening classes, especially in English.

I am always amused each time people talk about the magic Chief Obafemi Awolowo performed with free education in Western Region. Of course, it was a great achievement which showed Awo’s foresight. Even then I am always amused because while the great premier of the West gave free education, in the North we were paid to go to school and we did so in hundreds of thousands, if not in millions.

The problem, I think, was that the next generation of the region’s politicians chose to pay only lip service to investment in education, especially primary and secondary education, without which invariably we could only send garbage into our tertiary schools. And as they say of computers: garbage in, garbage out.

I know this for sure because of the experience I had teaching in my alma mater, Ahmadu Bello University’s Mass Communication Department for six years until I left two years ago. During the last three of those six years, I made it a habit to test the English Language of all my students, both under- and post-graduates, at the beginning of each semester.

The test was a simple one of correcting ten sentences with errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. The average failure rate for all the students was a dismal 70%! The highest score was 8 and you could count those on your fingertips.

The conclusion is obvious; our universities have generally been taking in barely literate materials because our primary and secondary schools have suffered criminal neglect.

In giving primary and secondary education top priority to the extent of even borrowing to reform Osun State’s public education system, Aregbesola has demonstrated that he has his heart and mind in the right place. As a mutual friend, Chief Ikechi Emenike, who also witnessed Buhari’s commissioning of the Osogbo Government High School said, the governor’s educational intervention “reflected an abiding love for his people and a deep appreciation of history and his legacy.”

President Buhari summed it even better when he said in his speech the governor was only keeping the promise of the ruling party to provide free and qualitative basic education by implementing the Basic Education Act.

“What we are witnessing here today,” he said, “is the formal fulfillment of that promise in Osun by the state government. The cost effectiveness of this project can only be seen when we consider that this school will graduate an average one thousand pupils in a year and in fifty years it would have produced fifty thousand well-trained and well equipped pupils many of whom will go to higher education and will form the backbone of the administration of our country.

Over six years ago, an award-winning columnist of the New York Times, Thomas Friedman, wrote an article which underscored the importance of quality basic education and which I have had cause to refer to on these pages and elsewhere. He titled it “ Pass the Books. Hold the Oil.”

It was published in the Times of March 10, 2012. Every politician concerned abou the dismal state of our education at all levels should read that short – roughly 1,070 words – article. In it Friedman narrated how a study by rich-country club, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (O.E.C.D.), established a negative linkage between natural resource dependent countries and knowledge.

The club looked at the bi-annual test of 15-year olds in Mathematics, Science and reading comprehension in 65 countries and the total earnings of each of them as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product. The test was called PISA, Program for International Student Assessment.

The study, Friedman said, showed that the bigger a country’s revenue from natural resources as a percentage of its GDP, the poorer the knowledge and skills of its pupils. For example participating Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran and Syria that were natural resource rich performed poorly compared to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, also in the Middle East, which were natural resource poor. So, Friedman concluded, “Oil and PISA don’t mix.”

As always there were exceptions to his thesis. Canada, Australia and Norway, also countries with high levels of natural resources, he pointed out, still scored well on PISA, in large part because all three countries had established deliberate policies of saving and investing these resource rents, and not just consuming them.

The three countries provide great lessons for us as a natural resource dependent country by showing that oil and PISA can indeed mix.

As a country we may have so far blown away our oil fortune but clearly Aregbesola has shown as governor of one of the poorest states in the country that you don’t have to be rich to plan for the future of your children.

Buhari Restates Commitment To Revitalize Education Sector, Commends Aregbesola For Setting Pace

…As he Commissions Osogbo Govt High School

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, has reiterated his administration’s commitment towards ensuring that the moribund state of country’s education sector is resuscitated.

President Buhari who said his government was on a rescue mission to make Nigeria a prosperous, thereby commended the Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for treading the path towards enhancing the socioeconomic and political lives of the citizenry through the provision of functional education.

President Buhari stated this on Thursday in Osogbo, Osun state capital, during a-day presidential visit to the state for the official commissioning of the Osogbo Government High School, Osogbo.

Expressing his determination towards making education affordable for all, Buhari said the present administration was highly determined at bringing back the lost glory of education sector, saying that was why 10 percent of the national budget was voted to revive the rot in the education system in the country.

The President who noted that the All Progressive Congress, APC led government has been unrelently given priority to education said “efforts are in place to make Osun and other states of the federation achieve their various desires and goals in education sector”.

He described the newly commissioned high school as an “educational monument” and a “legacy project”, capable of creating unquantifiable future for the present and incoming generation.

He commended Aregbesola for abiding by the APC’s manifestos on education policy just as he urged other governors to emulate the Osun governor.

“What we are witnessing here is a display of patriotism to the party’s manifesto by the governor. There should be a substantial commitment of energy and dedication to education by government at all levels,” he added.

The president subsequently appealed to Nigerians to persevere with the current challenges experienced in the country.

He said, “Change is never achieved by bed of roses but through patience and perseverance. We are dedicated to restore integrity into the country, improve the condition of people and make the country a prosperous one.”

President Buhari who commended the people of the state for their continued support, said the people in the state have always been the pillar to his political pursue.

Buhari said the purpose of state creation is to bring the leaders of government closer to the people for clear development, to promote patriotic tendencies and as well engender self-sufficiency, stressing that, “Osun government has demonstrated what good governance stands for”.

While delivering his speech titled, ‘For a bright today and a glorious future’ Osun Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said that President Buhari has not disappointed Nigerians with his performance.

Aregbesola who commended Buhari for his transparent leadership, said, “he has not disappointed us. He has faced his task with courage and doggedness. No doubt, he is facing some challenges part of which is the fall in revenue that has put about 28 states under severe financial crisis”.

“He continues with a rare sense of doggedness and faith in God as he faces the turbulent situations. We are satisfied with the way he manages the affairs of the state (country) and leads us. The challenges we are facing are as a result of the previous party’s (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP) rape of our resources.

Stating that the President was accountable, Aregbesola said, “When we were coming, the president asked me how we got the resources to do all these. I looked at him carefully and replied ‘God’ and ‘you’.”

Aregbesola, who estimated the cost of the project as N1.35bn, said the elementary school has standard facilities.

Among the facilities, he said, the school possessed is classrooms, offices, laboratories, toilets, library, bookshop, sick bay, and multi-purpose hall which can accommodate 1000 students for examinations.

He said, “It is part of our party manifesto to provide basic education and you can see that in the way All Progressives Congress governed states pay so much attention and commitment to education.

“When we came in here at Osun, we first held an education submit headed by Prof. Wole Soyinka. Now, we have built 14 elementary schools, 15 middle schools and 11 high schools.”
Minister of Communications, Shittu Adebayo, commended the state of education infrastructure in Osun State.

He noted that such standard infrastructure existed in few place around the world.

He said, “I must commend the infrastructure I met here. I don’t this exist in many places of the world that I have visited. I am proud that someone is replicating the legacies of Obafemi Awolowo, especially his legacies of quality education.

“There is no child that will come here and won’t feel very much at home. I recommend this for other governors to emulate.”

A former governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said the president’s visit would serve as a challenge to the state government to intensify efforts in improving education level.

Describing the visit and reception of the president as overwhelming, he said, “The implication of this visit is that it is an assessment on the state of education and it is a charge to do more.”

He, however, urged users of the infrastructure on adequate maintenance.

He said, “This edifice is not for today alone. It will also serve future purposes. We must improve on our maintenance culture. We will monitor and ensure discipline in the maintenance of public infrastructures.

“I will implore that special funds should be set aside for the maintenance of public infrastructures.”

During the visit, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the newly built Osogbo Government High School, Osogbo, which has 3,000 students capacity.

The visit and commissioning of the school was part of the activities to mark Osun State 25th year’s anniversary.

The visit held amidst tight security and presence of dignitaries such as the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, Borno State Governor, Ibrahim Shetima, senators, members federal House of Assembly, Lagos and Osun Houses of Assembly speakers, among other dignitaries from Osun, Lagos, Oyo and Borno states.