WAEC to Partner with Osun on e-testing of Students

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has said it would partner with the Osun State Government in the area of electronic assessment of students.

WAEC Head National Office (HNO), Mr Olu Adenipekun, revealed this during a courtesy visit to Gov. Rauf Aregbesola in Osogbo.

According to Adenipekun, “WAEC will require support and assistance of the state government with allocation of land in conducive location for this project.”

“The council is willing to collaborate with the Ministry of Education to create avenues for experience-sharing with teachers in secondary schools in the state.”

“This will be in the areas of standardised testing and candidates/ students assessment…

“We will continually ensure the smooth conduct of our examinations. We are equally open for collaboration in the training of teachers in order to improve the performance of candidates in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE),’’ he said.

Adenipekun commended the governor for strides in education in the state, praising the “Opon Imo’’ (meaning tablet of knowledge) initiative by the state government, as a major breakthrough of Aregbesola’s administration in the education sector.

Aregbesola im response commended WAEC for diligent conduct of their variois exs and promised to approve a piece of land for the proposed e-testing and training centre as requested by the WAEC.

“I am happy you are here today to recognise our little efforts in improving the quality of teaching and learning. But we are not particularly happy with our performance because we are still not where we want to be.”

“Our progress is steady, certain and with that progress, it has guaranteed us the need to do more.”

“Your visit has encouraged us to do more, and I want to assure you that we are fully committed and willing to partner with you on all your projects, aimed at driving our developmental effort in education.”

“What you want to do is a blessing and therefore, I want to appeal to you to register us as your partner in all your projects,’’ the governor said.

Opon Imo: How Aregbesola Laid Foundation For Digital Education In Nigeria, By Inwalomhe Donald

Much has been written about the role technology played in bringing social and political change across much of Africa, but less is known about the technological revolution that is taking place and transforming people’s lives in the State of Osun, Nigeria. This deep and rapid mobile penetration is catapulting the State of Osun school children into the 21st century and bringing new and previously unimagined opportunities. African schools and universities are now exploring the use of mobile technology to assist teaching.

Whether critics like it or not, Governor Aregbesola has laid the foundation and remains the pioneer of digital education in Nigeria and he represents an agent of change as far as digital education is concerned in Nigeria. The history of Digital Education will remember Governor Aregbesola as the first Nigerian to implement the UNESCO recommendation on digital education. Nigerians need to visit Osun Sukuk Schools, Middle Schools and Elementary Schools. Governor Aregbesola has undertaken to build and equip schools with computer classrooms and training teachers to use digital media in education. In this line, Opon Imo “local content’’ in digital education has allowed teachers to use tablets to teach students. In the history of Nigeria, Governor Aregbesola will be remembered as the first leader to introduce digital education. Like India, the State of Osun is working to improve on Opon Imo. In years to come, Governor Aregbesola will be remembered as a pioneer of digital education in Nigeria.

About 33 states in Nigeria are presently working on how to introduce digital education by using Osun model of Opon Imo. Opon-Imo, is indeed the first digital education revolution in Nigeria. Through Opon-Imo books, libraries, virtual laboratories and study materials of Osun schools are introduced and made available to students. Governor Aregbesola promised that there would be no need of students buying books and other study materials. The tablet of knowledge, indeed, served that purpose. The way secondary school students operate and interact with each other has drastically changed with the advent of OPON IMO, the first digital education revolution in Nigeria. Over the years, the impact of technology has been profound, not just in terms of making our lives easier, but also in terms of our approach to the way we carry out tasks, solve problems and resolve issues.

There is no doubt that Governor Aregbesola understands the role that technology can play in realising the vision for Nigeria’s growth – it is at the core of the Opon Imo and a key driver across all plans devised by the State Government of Osun over the last six years. The government recognizes the transformative power of technology and sees it as an enabler for the change that we all seek – be it in delivering better citizen services, digitising education records, efficient and productive functioning, or using technology to provide a new social security platform

Until recently many students in Osun had never touched a tablet computer. But it took them about “one minute to work out how to use one when such devices arrived at Osun schools. Osun students were no slower to embrace the new tool. Teaching used to be conducted with a blackboard and a handful of tattered textbooks. Now children swipe the touch screen of the devices, which are loaded with a multimedia version of Nigeria’s syllabus.

The prospect of many of Africa’s 300m pupils that want digital education has not escaped the attention of global technology giants either. A bigger question is whether digital tools will actually improve education. Early results are encouraging. In Osun, reading skills improved measurably among school children. In Osun, researchers found that even in the absence of teachers, children figured out how to use tablets provided to them by the State Government, to teach themselves to read.

As we transit towards knowledge driven economies, the need to build human capacity to gain competitive advantage has become a front burner issue for developed and developing nations. This situation is seen as more critical for developing nations which hold the majority of the world’s uneducated and have suffered decades of education infrastructure neglect.

To reverse this situation, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) timelines, developing nations will need more than orthodox initiatives to bridge the huge learning gap. The use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) appears to be one of such promising innovative means of democratising access and improving the quality of learning.

The State Government of Osun, under the leadership of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, in its resolve to champion inspiring innovations for Africa, has undertaken a ground breaking step to utilise ICTs to concisely tackle the learning problem through the Opón Ìmò Initiative.

The State, through its Opón Ìmò Technology Enhanced Learning System (OTELS), has developed a learning tool that could revolutionize learning in developing states around the world. This tool is called the Opón Ìmò, “Tablet of Knowledge”.

The digital revolution has hit education, with more and more classrooms plugged into the whole wired world. But are schools making the most of new technologies? Are they tapping into the learning potential of today’s Firefox/Facebook/cell phone generation? Have schools fallen through the crack of the digital divide? This groundbreaking tool offers a vision for the future of the State of Osun’s education that goes well beyond the walls of the classroom to include distance learning with “anytime, anywhere” access, digital home schooling models.

Opon-Imo (Tablet of Knowledge), an e-learning device which solved educational needs of Senior Secondary School students of Osun State, introduced by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, have become one of the biggest known digital initiative in Osun’s educational history and Nigeria. Opon Imo has solve the educational needs of the state and cut cost in the sector as promised by Aregbesola upon its inauguration, the project has solved the major educational problems of the state, leaving with it huge progress that the state had battled with for a long time.

On Tuesday June 4, 2013, Governor Aregbesola, in a speech entitled, ‘Opon-Imo Enters the Stage’ had told the people of Osun, “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all and to be here myself for this epoch-making event in the annals of this state…Today in the State of Osun, we are taking another momentous leap forward in our unflinching and unstoppable effort to lay a solid foundation for the education of our children. “The much-awaited Opon-Imo has finally arrived. The smart computer tablet has entered the education scene, to the glory of Almighty God, and to the victory of the public school students of Osun, but to the utter bewilderment of ill-meaning cynics, whose ardent wish is for the project to fail. Unfortunately for them, God has a different plan for Osun and for its good people.”

“This initiative, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, covers 17 core subjects with over five extra curricula subjects for senior secondary 1, 2 and 3 levels. The tablet contains over 56 textbooks, 900 minutes of virtual classroom lessons and 1000s (Thousands) of practice questions for WAEC and JAMB. In addition to aiding preparation for School Leaving Examinations, the introduction of the tool is expected to aid adoption of information communication technology (ICT) skills among students in the state,”

The typical Osun classroom like Indian classroom was once characterized by students sitting through hour-long teacher monologues. Now, technology is making life easier for both students and educators. Schools are increasingly adopting digital teaching solutions to engage with a generation of pupils well-versed with the likes of tablets and iPads, and trying to make the classroom environment more inclusive and participatory.

Governor Aregbesola has observed that in line with Osun’s increasing interest in technology for school education, there has been a rush of education-focused tablet computers in the market. It aims to eliminate digital illiteracy by distributing the Opon Imo tablets to students across Osun at free rates. While the project itself has become successful, it has generated a lot of awareness and interest among students around the educational tablet.

Aregbesola had observed “Digital learning facilitated through tablets will revolutionize the educational space,” He has invested in developing content and services targeted toward tablet audiences. To start with, he offered Osun school curriculum-learning modules, and at home live products on the opon imo. Students can now have access to good teachers, educational content and a great learning experience anytime, anywhere.”

But even as schools in Osun are going through this transformation powered by technology, one key question is how big a role technology will play in the education sector. Technology plays a critical role in all these. Despite numerous studies on the impact of ICT in education, the outcomes remain difficult to measure and open to much debate. It needs to be understood that technology is only an enabler and a force multiplier and cannot be treated as a panacea. We believe that impressive gains in teaching-learning outcomes are possible only through an integrated approach like Opon Imo intervention.

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.

How Osun’s tablet, Opon Imo, Influenced Us To Give Tablets To Our Students -UNILORIN VC

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof AbulGaniy Ambali, has revealed how the introduction of the stand-alone Tablet of Knowledge (Opon Imo) into schools by the Government of Osun influenced the decision by his institution to make it mandatory for every undergraduate of the university to have a tablet in the school.

He said the university authorities realised that by the time pupils coming to universities from schools such as those in Osun would be gaining admissions, they would have been so advanced in the use of modern technology devices for learning that to bring them to any standards lesser than that would be a deservice to their orientations.

The Vice Chancellor, who stated this during his visit to the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in Osogbo, revealed how the university’s adoption of technology had helped it advanced the course of leaning commending the Governor for having the vision to introduce Osun pupils to technology.

“Opon Imo influenced our decision to procure tablets for all our students. This is why even at the University of Ilorin, you will not see any board other than electronic boards in our lecture rooms. In our Senate, we operate a paperless Senate.” the VC said.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola holding the Opon Imo tablet
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola holding the Opon Imo tablet

Ambali told Aregbesola that the University of Ilorin is the most patronized at the moment with about 107,000 applicants applying to the institution in the last admission exercise.

He told Aregbesola that at least, 12 per cent of the total intake of the university are indigenes of Osun.

He added that Osun indigenes who are also in the employment of the university have displayed a high level of commitment, competence and handwork.

Governor Aregbesola, who commended what he called “the stable academic calendar” of the institution, said it was gratifying that the institution got its inspiration to introduce computer tablets for learning.

“I am happy that the university is not doing badly at all. And I wish to commend your  commitment to modernization and knowledge tradition because we are in a knowledge-based society. What it means therefore is that you need technology which is the way of instant knowledge dissemination and whoever is not into that is not existing.

“The way things change in the current world order is such that it is not enough to be computer-compliant but follow the trend. What is relevant today may not be relevant tomorrow

“I am impressed by your adoption of tablet which is the easiest device to hold today for knowledge seeking, communication and all manners of potentials.

“That you have introduced and made compulsory tablets is a feat that must be commended,” Aregbesola told the visiting Vice chancellor and his team.

He also commended the partnership with Samsung saying the varsity has bridged the digital divide.

He said with the works going into education rebuilding in Osun, the university should not be surprised if in no time, at least, Osun takes up to 50% of the total intake of the university.

Considering areas of potential partnership with the university, Aregbesola listed agriculture which he said is the major focus of his administration, as one sector where his government and the authorities of the university will have enter into partnership.

The governor said his government’s school feeding program (O’MEAL) relies solely on local agricultural productions, adding that the university is also forward-looking with its growing of Teak tree for future revenues.

Aregbesola said if there is a message that the current dislocation of the global economy preaches, it is that Nigerians cannot continue to rely on oil as a source of revenue.

“We are disconnected from where the oil is being prospected and that means we must diversify. The central focus of a nation like our own considering our history and background is agriculture.  That is why I consider your Teak plantation as most fascinating of what you are doing saying. It is a guarantee for future wealth,” he said.