Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola today decried the low level of educational advancement in Africa.
The Governor expressed his disappointment while delivering a keynote speech at the launch of the African Business Club in the London Imperial College.
He said “Education in Africa has not been an engine of development, rather, it is a system of social stratification where bland certificates are issued in order to separate the political and economic elites from the others. This is one of the factors responsible for poor productivity. Those who have certificates without the requisite skills cannot drive enterprise. They only see their certification as entitlement to privileges. Education therefore is not harnessing Africa’s brain for her development.”
The Governor added that he conceived education “as the preparation and development of worthy citizens for the immediate society and the world at large. Education is that infrastructure of the mind that develops our youths to become models of good character, innovation and competence. This is what we call Omoluabi in Yoruba.”
Aregbesola who is famous for his government’s several educational policies, went on to explain what his government has done in uplifting education in the State of Osun. “Education received the greatest attention and resources from our administration. One of our first tasks was to convene an education summit, headed by the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka. That summit produced the blueprint of our education reforms. In a state of roughly four million people, we embarked on an ambitious programme of building from scratch 100 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 20 high schools. Each of these schools has a capacity for 600 pupils, with the high school being a three in one, each designed and equipped to sustain 1000 pupils. These new public schools soon began to displace private schools.”
He continued “…We provided a stand-alone e-learning tablet, which we named ‘Opon Imo’ (tablet of knowledge), for final year students in public schools, in share display of creativity. This tablet contains all the recommended 56 textbooks by the three examination bodies for senior school certificate examinations in Nigeria. It contains also past questions of these bodies, a virtual classroom, extracurricular zone and the themes of Yoruba traditional religion. This tablet was the saving grace in a year when teachers went on strike for eight months and did not prepare the final year students for their examinations.”
“We also pioneered in a sense, the home grown school feeding programme (OMEALS), in which sumptuous meals are provided for 252,000 elementary school pupils on every school day. We say ‘in a sense’ because the programme had existed in an attenuated form prior to our coming, but our administration gave it a new identity and prominence. Because of its success in Osun, it has now been nationally adopted by the Federal Government. Earlier in the week, our state organised a national induction for other states understudying the programme, preparatory to implementing it in their own states. I have also been invited to the British Parliament to share our experience with the world.”, the Governor remarked.