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.

FG Plans To Enrol 2.9m Pupils In Schools Annually

The Federal Government on Monday said it plans to enroll about 2.9 million pupils annually in four years to reduce the figure of out-of-school children in Nigeria.

Nigeria currently has the highest number of out of school children in the world with 11. 4 million out–of–school children out of the 20 million worldwide.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said 60 per cent of the 11.4 million out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls.

Adamu, who said this at the presentation of “Education for change,” a Ministerial Strategic Plan (2016-2019) to stakeholders in Abuja, said only 3.1 million or 17 per cent nomadic children of school-age had access to basic education despite decades of intervention.

He therefore said government would urgently raise the national Net Enrollment Rate (NER) to ensure that all out-of-school children are enrolled in basic education schools in the next four years.

The minister said: “Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children in the world with 11. 4 million out- of-school children of the 20 million worldwide.

These include the girl-child, Almajiri-child, children of nomadic pastoralists and migrant fishermen and more recently the children displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“60 per cent of the 11.4 million out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls. Only a fraction (17 per cent) of the 3.1 million nomadic children of school-age has access to basic education despite decades of intervention. Similarly, only a small proportion of the FME’s 20120 estimate of 9.5 million Almajiri children have access to any form of basic education.”

Minister Of Health Joins Aregbesola On Inspection Of School Projects (Photos)

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole joined Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on an inspection visit to school projects in Oshogbo, the capital of Osun State. See pictures from the inpection below;

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (right); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right), during the recent inspection to the
on going Construction of AUD Goveronr Elementary School at Sabo area, Osogbo

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2ndright); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (right); former Commissioner for Regional
and Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru (left), during the recent inspection of the
on going Construction of AUD Goveronr Elementary School at Sabo area, Osogbo


Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (right); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right);
Former Commissioner for Regional and Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru
(right), seating in one of the classroms, during the recent inspection
of the on going
Construction of Osogbo High School, at the State capital.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (left); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right);
Former Commissioner for Regional an Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru
(right), at the School Library, during the recent inspection of the on
going Construction of Osogbo High School, at the State capital.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2nd left); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right); former Commissioner for
Regional and Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru (left); former Media
Assistant to the Governor, Oluremi Omowaye (right), during the recent
inspection of the on going Construction of Osogbo High School, at the
State capital.

Aregbesola Is Building Extraordinary Legacy In Education – Health Minister

…As he charges Governors to emulate Osun’s Education System

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

The Minister for Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has eulogized the governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for prioritizing the welfare of the citizenry above other considerations.

Professor Adewole said the state government under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola has successfully distinguished in clear terms the essence of governance through its pro-masses policies and programmes.

He stated this while addressing journalists during his inspection tour to some of the ongoing projects in the state.

Professor Adewole who was conducted round the project sites by the state governor was also accompanied by the former commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Barrister Bashir Ajibola and other political functionaries.

The minister who visited the newly constructed Osogbo Government High School; Atoaja Government High School, Adventist High School, Ansarudeen Elementary School, Olorunsogo Elementary School among others, however applauded Governor Aregbesola’s administration for building a greater future for immediate and incoming generations.

Professor Adewole attributed education to economic-driven mechanism, saying the only visible way to banish poverty is to build minds and impart knowledge in the society.

He lauded the state government for championing the course of the masses regardless of socio-economic, political and religious backgrounds, saying some of the achievements recorded by the present government in all sectors of the economy are manifestation of good governance.

The health minister who described Governor Aregbesola as a visionary leader, said his government has truly demonstrated the real tenets of government and what good governance stands for since assumption of office.

He said governor Aregbesola has used his huge investment in education to rebirth the sector, stressing that the milestone achievement would in no doubt reposition her economy as the state is aggressively building extraordinary and immemorable legacies in the education system, which according to him capable of taking people out of poverty.

“I am very happy to see these edifices in my state and as a matter of fact, Osun has proven to be a pacesetter in educational infrastructures.

“This is a deliberate investment in education targeted to completely take people out of poverty because as an educationist, I have traveled far and wide, but there is no other place in Nigeria where public schools are constructed as being done in Osun.

“It is my hope that with this innovative ideology and modernity put together to aid education system, Osun is sure of greater future as education remains the bedrock to development and growth of any society”, the Minister added.

He therefore called on other governors to emulate the state in building virile education sector that can be universally proud of.

According to him, Nigeria has gotten to a stage where huge investment is required in education if truly we want to place the country in the circles of her counterparts in technology and science developments.

“With what I saw, I will enjoin other governors to emulate the state government of Osun and further reinvest hugely in education as an antidote to poverty and underdevelopment.

“For this reason, no stone should be left unturned at improving our education system in the country because no investment on education gets wasted”, he stressed.

Osun Warns Principals Against Aiding Exam Malpractice Among Students

The Osun State Government on Friday warned school principals and teachers against aiding and abetting examination malpractice among their students.
Festus Olajide, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, gave the warning against the backdrop of the ongoing Unified and Promotion Examination for Grade II (SS2) students in the state.
Olajide said: “It has come to the notice of the government that some school principals are pressurising examination supervisors to compromise the ongoing promotion examination for their students.
“It is expected that school principals as leaders of honour should not engage in such disgraceful act.
“Any principal caught in such acts shall be dealt with in line with the existing laws guiding the conduct of examinations and in line with the Public Service Rules.
“To curb malpractice, local inspectors of education and supervisors were equally made to sign undertaking that they should be held responsible for any form of examination malpractices in their area.”
Olajide said the new measures were aimed at ensuring that students’ performance in exams reflected their abilities.

Now That Osun Public Schools Wear A New Look

OLUWOLE IGE, in this report for The Tribune Newspapers, takes a look at the giant steps so far taken by the Osun State government in the education sector and the benefits that students and other stakeholders stand to derive from the mega projects which is spread across the state.

For pupils of Osun public schools, learning in a conducive environment with state of the art infrastructural facilities is now a dream come true.

The decision of Governor Aregbesola to build about 170 mega schools, spread across three senatorial districts of the state was borne out of the recommendations of 2011 education summit,convened to examine the condition of public schools, its challenges and formulate a qualitative policy that would pave the way for new educational policy and with the construction of mega school infrastructure.

Chaired by the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, the education summit, that paraded heavy weights in education sector like the former Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Ibadapo Obe and Dr Peter Okebukola of the National Universities Commission (NUC) made far-reaching recommendations, which today has carved a niche and created distinct identity for the state in terms of enviable infrastructural facilities in public schools.

The new educational policy gave birth to reclassification of schools, namely elementary, middle and high schools. Though pockets of criticisms from the opposition and other interest groups greeted the new policy, especially the merger of existing schools as a prerequisite for the take off of the policy, the decision of the state government had been applauded by many for its success, quality, uniqueness and architectural master piece of schools, which now dots the landscape in Osun.

Under the new school policy, the primary school system gave way to the grade system with the former Primaries 1-4 with the age range of 6-9 years, merging into what is now called Elementary school, in Grades 1-4. Primaries 5 and 6 and junior secondary schools 1-3 merged together to become middle school and now to be known as Grades 5-9 with the age range of 10-14 years, while the senior secondary students are grouped together in Grades 10-13, in what is now known as high school.

Besides, the elementary schools currently have a maximum capacity of 900 pupils in a purpose built state-of–the-art school. Other features include the provision of school uniform, books and balanced diet meals. The schools were designed to be within the neighbourhood for easy access for all students.

For the middle school, the maximum capacity ranges between 900-1,000 students, with the provision of state-of-the-art educational infrastructureand catchment to be between 2-3 kilometers, while the high school will have a maximum capacity of 3,000 students with hostel facilities. However, the curriculum did not change rather, what changed were physical infrastructure and more conducive environment.

At present, many of the mega schools, located in the three Senatorial Districts have been completed and commissioned for use. Notably among them are AUD Elementary School, Osogbo; Salvation Army Middle School, Alekuwodo; Baptist Central Elementary School, Ilare, Ile-Ife; Wole Soyinka High School, Ejigbo and Anthony Udofia Elementary School, Osogbo.

Though, Osogbo High School is still under construction, Ataoja High School had already been completed. Both imposing edifices, located along Iwo-Osogbo and Gbongan-Ibadan expressways are beauty to behold.

Speaking on the new education policy and schools’ infrastructure, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Lawrence Oyeniran said the new grade system is the global trend and approach to modern education for effective teaching and learning, explaining that in adopting the grade system, pupils of the same age bracket are grouped together with fewer students in classes.

He observed that multiplicity of schools had decayed infrastructure over the years, culminating in poor funding, shortage of teachers and inefficiency, saying with the new policy and building of mega schools, the state government had succeeded in reversing the rot, by making quality education available to all children without discrimination, with public schools’ structures better than private schools.

Another interesting feature of the new education policy is the introduction of O’ Meal school feeding system, which affords pupils in elementary schools opportunities of enjoying free and nutritious meals everyday during school hours.

This scheme has gained international endorsement as well. In November 2012, Partnership for Child Development (PCD) United Kingdom and the Government of the State of Osun signed the Osun Elementary School Feeding Transition Strategy Plan Document to further strengthen the programme.

O-MEALS aims was to reverse the very low academic performance of pupils noting that good nutrition is necessary for development of cognitive skills. The daily feeding allowance for each pupil has also been increased from N50 to N250.

For effective service a total number of 3,007 food vendors/cooks were trained and are currently employed to serve midday meals for pupils of classes 1, 2 , 3 and 4 in all elementary schools in the state.

Nigerian Tribune authoritatively gathered that over N3 billion is being expended annually on the school feeding programme, which has helped to increase school enrolment by a minimum of 25 percent since its commencement.

But, the new face of Osun public schools, as well as its encouraging features, is taking a toll on the enrollment in some private schools in the state as some parents have withdrawn their children to government owned schools.

Sizable number of parents and teachers cannot hide ecstasy and satisfaction for the conducive environment created through the building of over 39 mega schools, spread across the three senatorial districts in Osun State.

Some of the parents who bared their minds to our correspondent lauded the efforts of government to rebuild confidence in public schools, saying the development had changed the views and opinions of the majority, most especially on the quality of education and modern infrastructural facilities now available in public schools.

One of the parents, identified as Mr Olalekan Adeyemi said “let’s be frank and objective, Aregbesola has tried to restructure education in Osun State. With these mega schools, he has accorded more priority to the future of the youth in this state, bearing in mind that the best legacy one can bequeath to his children is qualitative education, which is only obtainable in a serene and conducive environment”.

Similarly, Mr Sadeeq Ayobami, a teacher in one of the elementary schools opined that “we have never had it so good in terms of school infrastructure, but the state government should also pay more attention to the welfare of teachers, through prompt payment of salaries and other allowances”.

However, the principal of International School, Abere, in Ede North local government, Mr Babaremi Olusola, admitted that the educational reforms had affected his business, lamenting that “this is affecting us, I have seen parents withdrawing their children to public schools because of the free education and uniform and food.”

“The way they are going about it, it’s like they don’t want us to exist, look at everything they are doing, and we should be partners in progress. We also employ people here and we are voters too. There is need for Osun State government to grant private schools tax reduction and give them ‘special grants’ to also upgrade their own facilities”

Aregbesola Expresses Worry Over Downward Trend Of Education In South West

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has expressed worry over the downward trend of education in the South-West and called for concerted effort to urgently address the situation.

Speaking at a conference in Osogbo, the state capital, Aregbesola said education remains the basic factor that gives the South-West an edge over other regions in Nigeria, adding that the pursuit of education separated the Yoruba nation from any other.

According to him, Yoruba recorded many firsts in Law, Medicine, and Engineering among others. He however lamented that it is regrettable that the enviable legacy is being wiped off.

“After Chief Obafemi Awolowo introduced free primary education in January 1955; that singular act created a 50 year education gap between the West and other parts of the country. For instance, our own Wole Soyinka is the only Nigerian that has won the Nobel Prize in Literature.”

He frowned that the current downward trend in education in the South-West should be worrisome, saying that it sounds stranger than fiction when he became governor in November 2010, less than five percent of secondary school leavers in Osun had the prerequisite five credit score, including English and Mathematics, needed for matriculation into tertiary institutions.

The governor emphasised that since education brings enlightenment to the human mind, provides the platform for leadership recruitment and provides the means for character building and good citizenship, it must not be taken with levity.

Oyo To Go Ahead With Private Sector Partnership On Public Schools – Ajimobi

The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has said the proposed stakeholders meeting on public-private participatory management of some public secondary schools in the state will still go ahead despite the opposition it has attracted from labour unions.

The chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Waheed Olojede, and six members of the congress are presently detained in Agodi prison after they were arrested and arraigned for disrupting the meeting to discuss the return of schools last week.

The union members were charged with seven counts and remanded in prison last week.

Ajimobi, who spoke while addressing members of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Oyo State chapter, in his office, said those who disrupted the meeting had no stake in the education sector in the state.

He added that the initiative would go ahead because of the advantages it would offer.

The governor stated that the state would not tolerate public disturbance and brigandage by any group of people.

Ajimobi said, “Before any partner can be allowed to get near our schools, they must have met some stringent conditions. Even in the nearest future, government would still monitor the schools to ensure adherence to standards. We will take the schools back if they fail us.

“We are not selling any school. We are not privatising. Those people will only be our partners and I want to ask you to go out there and help educate our people that Oyo of today is democratic and our policies are hinged on consultation and participation.

“Good governance is anchored on transparency, consultation and participation of subjects in the activities of the government.

“You all know what went down at the last organised stakeholders’ meeting, which was disrupted. We invited all those that have stakes in education in the state to jaw-jaw on the partnering proposal in education and those without stake, as shown in their behaviours, went there to cause disturbances.

“The era of brigandage and wanton destruction of public assets has gone. We would not allow any person or group to draw us back. If anybody has issues to present at the meeting, why didn’t they participate instead of disruption?”

OAU VC Position: NASU Alleges Foul Play On Part Of School Management

The Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities has accused the management of the Obafemi Awolowo University of refusing to subject the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor for the institution to due process.

It alleged that the school’s management was planning to impose a candidate on the institution instead of following due process.

The subject of a new Vice Chancellor has become controversial since it became known that the incumbent VC, Bamitale Omole, would soon be done with his tenure.

“The management and Governing council wants to impose one person on us, it is bad that due process has not been followed,” the Chairman of NASU, OAU chapter, Wole Odewunmi, said.

“The law states that, there should be a committee of four persons, two each from academic staff union of universities and governing council. The committee will recommend three persons but they are saying that just one person is qualified to run.

“Out of the contestants two were qualified in 2011, why will they not be qualified now.

“We will make OAU ungovernable for them if they succeed in imposing anyone on us, we have no power as senior staff of OAU too are against the lack of respect for due process at the moment.

Reacting however, the Public Relations Officer of OAU, Abiodun Olanrewaju said NASU’s position was based on falsehood.

“Is it possible for a governing council with 10 members to become compromised? The allegation is unfounded and not real,” Mr. Olanrewaju said.

NASU and SSANU held a one-day peaceful protest on the March 23 to protest the alleged imposition of the candidate.

Private Schools On Strike In Ekiti Over New Levy

Proprietors of private schools in Ekiti state on Monday shut their schools to protest government’s new tax policy.

In a circular from the ministry of education, government announced the introduction of ‘Education Development Levy’ of N1,000 on each student in secondary schools, and N500 per pupil in primary schools.

Saka Adeleye, president, National Association of Proprietors and Proprietress of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Ekiti, who addressed a press conference in Ado-Ekiti, said the schools would remain closed for three days.

He described the levy as multiple taxation, adding that government had imposed different taxes on them.

He listed the taxes to include annual renewal fee; personal income tax; pay as you earn for staff; personal development fee; registration of business premises fee; environment levy; vehicle permit fee and tenement rate.

Adeleye said before the decision to close down the schools was taken, several attempts were made to meet the governor.

“We have made several attempts to meet the governor but all efforts proved abortive,” he said.

“Even the meeting we were able to have with the commissioner for education, ended half way as he was summoned by the governor mid-way into the meeting.

“He promised to get back to us but till this moment, we never heard from him.”

Minister Assures Of Nigeria’s Commitment To SDGs

Nigeria is committed to achieving the 16 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, assured on Monday in Abuja.

Adamu made the commitment in his address at the 2016 Commonwealth Day Celebration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SDGs are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators for UN member states.

UN member states are expected to use SDGs to frame their agenda and political policies over the next 15 years.
SDG is an expansion on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed by governments in 2001 that expired in 2015.

He said that as a member of the Commonwealth, Nigeria was determined to adding value to its citizens through the provision of quality education at all levels.

“We are committed to implementing and achieving the 16 SDGs, especially SDG 4 and its 10 strategic targets which have direct bearing on the education of the child and vulnerable including persons with special needs.

“We are committed to creating a safe environment for teaching and learning throughout the entire education landscape-formal and non-formal, public and private, from pre-school up to tertiary level.

“Nigeria is committed to pursuing and achieving the six important goals of Education for All (EFA).

“The Universal Basic Education(UBE) Act, 2004 emphasises and stipulates compulsory education for all Nigerian children of school age, irrespective of their differences and diverse needs,’’ he said.

Adamu said that the theme of the 2016 celebration: “An Inclusive Commonwealth’’, was apt and underscored the values of tolerance, respect and understanding among committee of nations.

Earlier in her welcome address, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, said the Commonwealth Charter had set out 16 core values and principles which had been defined at different stages.

She said the charter re-affirmed the Commonwealth’s commitment to democracy, human right, peace and security.

“The Nigerian education sector is committed to achieving universal basic education by expanding and improving early childhood care and education.

“It is determined to eliminating gender disparity and achieving gender equality in education,’’ she said.

In a message, the Queen of England and Head of Commonwealth, urged members of the body to make a positive difference in the lives of others by being willing to contribute and offer support.

The queen’s message was read by Mrs Justina Ibe, Director of Education Support Services of the ministry of education.

According to the queen, the essential ingredient of belonging to the Commonwealth is the willingness to share and exchange acts for the common good.

The Commonwealth was formed in 1949 as an intergovernmental body of 53 member states that were formerly under the British Empire.