Education featured Op-Ed

OBSERVATION: Public School Dereliction: Ifeoluwa As A Case Study

OBSERVATION: Public School Dereliction: Ifeoluwa As A Case Study
  • PublishedMay 14, 2021

By Yaya Ademola

PUBLIC institution is an entity established and controlled by government, either at the Federal, State, Local or Community. It is the responsibility of government at any of these levels to exercise administrative control and responsibilities over the institution. In the contemporary world, public institutions like schools, hospitals, courts, library, Et cetera run for the public use to play very important role in our daily existence.

Public institutions are not for profit; they are made to provide quality services to the people to improve their wellbeing. It is in public institution that one could get the best hands in terms of professionalism and certification in every department of the institution. For instance, it is in General Hospital or Teaching Hospital that one could see professionals in all areas of medicine. In fact, bad cases in private hospitals are referred there; anything that it could not handle has to be flown abroad. In the same vein, it is in public schools that one could see the best qualified and certificated teachers as all procedure will be utilised to getting the best recruited. This piece will examine the public education and challenges with the target to provide solutions.If anything isestablished to serve public in a non-profit manner, we must, as responsible citizens, collectively ensure its success as it is directly tied to the quality of life and living condition of the people it serves. This can be attained by looking at its services, environment, and employees working conditions among others.

The most important level of education anybody could attain in life is Basic – also known as Primary and Secondary education, which explains why it is called compulsory schooling. Education begins with primary and secondary. Tertiary Education is for specialisation and professionalism. The foundational background of primary and secondary schooling is what professionalism at higher institution is based. This explains the essence of creation of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to ensure free and compulsory education for all children of school-going age to acquire literacy, life skills and values for lifelong useful living.

The target to make free and qualitative education available to our children seems to be merely theoretical as what obtains in reality points to the contrary. IfeoluwaCo-educational Grammar School, formerly Ifeoluwa Grammer School, Fadeyi Estate, Ilesa road, Osogbo will be used as a case study.

Population of teachers to students in that school is 47:3,000 respectively. In this second term, 18 teachers who have spent five years and above in the school were transferred to another school, which is normal in the civil service system. However, only 16 were transferred there from another school, leaving shortage of 2 for a school that is highly deficient of teachers.  Against the standard recommendation of between 15 to 25 pupils per class, what obtains in the school is 70 pupils per class on register. This implies that after the class has been stuffed, remaining pupils will hang outside and around the door and windows to receive lesson and instruction. How could learning take place and knowledge be impacted under this circumstance?  Before now, the school was three-in-one with one principal manning each school. Now, the school has been reclassified with a coordinating principal doing all the work with the support of other two principals. How would a single principal efficiently and effectively cope with such a huge responsibility? Education and Research Planning Office in the Ministry of Education should be up and doing in correcting these anomalies.

These precarious situations have made our public schools breeding grounds for hooliganism and gangsterism. Little wonder that the school was shut down three weeks before the end of last term and has been shut again this 2nd term on account of the activities of hoodlums who constantly invade the school with charms and machetes to harm students and vandalise vehicles, especially whenever there occurs counter attacks from students resisting their terror.

The Disciplinary Corps engaged by the Ministry of Education to intervene and curb indiscipline in some selected black spot schools is being funded by the schools. The ministry should make the corps funding independent of schools so as to guarantee regular payment of salaries and allowances which could compromise security whenever it is threatened.

If the purpose for which our public schools were established will not be defeated, some fundamental restructurings must be undertaken. The first and foremost is teachers. They are the souls of education on earth. Their reward cannot, therefore, be in heaven but here on earth. They must be well remunerated to the level that teachers should be proud of their profession and profess it publicly. There should be regular training and retraining of teachers with incentives for the outstanding among them. This is where the on-going teachers’ recruitment exercise in the state becomes important. The recruitment should be used to right the wrong. We should not play politics with the recruitment. Merit should not be relegated to other consideration and sufficient enough teachers must be engaged to meet the standard ratio of teachers-to-students which begins with 1:15 to maximum of 1:30 per teacher to students respectively as research has demonstrated that students in smaller classes perform better in all subjects and on all assessments compared to their peers in larger classes. To produce desired result, researchers agree on a class size of 18 as ideal. The present Ifeoluwa Co-educational Grammar School cannot be said to be same Ifeoluwa Grammar School that the incumbent Governor of Osun, Adegboyega Oyatola, attended and graduated from in 1972.

Again, environment of learning matters. Dilapidated structures are antithetical to impacting knowledge and skills. The out-gone Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration made massive investment on education with construction and building of model schools and renovation of the existing dilapidated ones. This should not stop. While finances may not allow for building new schools for now, renovation of dilapidated schools structures should be a continuous exercise with enough security arrangement for the pupils, especially in this special period of kidnapping of students for ransom. If our State and Nigeria in general will be great, quality education for our children is the key as “Education is the most powerful weapon with which you can change the world,” as affirmed by the Great Nelson Mandela.


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