Friday, December 2, 2016 8:05 am
On Thursday December 1 2016, the main hall of the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan, UI, was filled to the brim with over a thousand residents of Oyo State who gathered to hold a town hall meeting with the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi over series of issues affecting the state. The meeting which lasted for over six hours though navigated among several issues but gave priority to ways of improving the educational standard especially of the primary and post primary in the state.
In attendance were top government functionaries, politicians, local government administrators, royal fathers including Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1, who led Olubadan-in-Council, Eleruwa of Eruwa, Samuel Adegbola, UIVC, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, Chief Bode Amoo, Chairman of Ibadan based Splash FM radio, Chief Adebayo Akande, The President, Central Council of Ibadan Indegenes, CCII, Chief Bayo Oyero, and stakeholders in educational sector.
Speaking, Governor Ajimobi bemoaned the rots in the educational sector stressing that the high level at which the students in the state are failing was not only shameful but unthinkable adding that was it not ironic that the state with the first university in Nigeria could have poor educational standard. “This is what we saw that makes us to stop automatic promotion and some people are complaining and burning schools. I assure that the students that protested recently and burnt some schools in the state will have their parents rebuilding it else, we will not allow them to go back to school. Is it not sad that many of our teachers cannot speak simple and correct English? One of the secondary school teachers said on a radio programme, “They beated me. Nine men beated me”. We will not allow thugs in our schools”, Ajimobi said.
To justify his position, Ajimobi gave a rundown of the performance of the students in West African Examination Council, WAEC since 1999 saying, in 1999, 54,232 students sat for WAEC, out of which 2,386 candidates made their results with English and Mathematics representing 4.40 percent pass. In 2000, 2,543 passed out of 70,806 representing 3.59 percent, in 2001, out of 79,545, 6,922 passed representing 8.70 percent, in 2002, out of 61,930, 4,294 passed representing 6.93 percent, in 2003, out of 55,688, 3,417 passed representing 6.13 percent, in 2004, out of 60, 052, 5,511 passed representing 9.17 percent, in 2005, out of 55,203, 4,358 passed representing 7.89 percent, in 2006, out of 52,534, 5,463 passed representing 10.40 percent, in 2007, out of 58,505, 3,606 passed representing 6.16 percent, in 2008, out of 61, 332, 5,608 passed representing 9.14 percent, in 2009, out of 60,444, 7,204 passed representing 11.92 percent, in 2010, out of 65,330, 8,757 passed representing 13.40 percent, in 2011, out of 72,559, 12,314 passed representing 16.97 percent, in 2012, out of 75,179, 16,049 passed representing 21.35 percent, in 2013, out of 74,319, 16,197 passed representing 2179, in 2014, out of 77,685, 14, 904 passed representing 19.19 percent and in 2015, out of 78,897, 17,051 passed representing 21.61 percent.
To address the challenges in the educational sector, the governor disclosed that the government has decided to embark on participatory Management of Schools with the creation of School’s Governing Board, SGB that would provide management functions for each secondary school in the state and meet performance targets.
Ajimobi said that the SGB model would be in two categories with membership drawn from accredited representative of Parent-Teacher Association, accredited representative of Old Students’ Association, accredited non-partisan Community leader, the Head Boy/Head Girl of the school, the School Principal to serve as Secretary, the Local Inspector of Education (LIE), representative of Local Govt. Council/LCDA and identified philanthropists and that with the SGB, various units, organs and departments in the management of education will need to be re-aligned to avoid ambiguity, overlapping functions and inefficiency.
He stressed that the SGB membership/leadership and scope shall be suitably determined by the Government and they shall not be entitled to any form of remuneration from Government. In both categories of SGB, Government shall be responsible for payment of salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff, curriculum development and quality control, and each SGB is mandated to meet once a month in order to properly discharge its functions.
The governor vowed that under the new arrangement, “Any student who does not fulfill 80 percent attendance in class will not be allowed to write examination and will not be allowed to be promoted. We want our children to be brilliant. This is the only way development and progress can be guaranteed.
As regards the reintroduction of boarding school as being agitated by some parents, the governor said that the government would not stop any governing council that wants to run a boarding school as long as they can build it and manage it without involving government.
He also made some clarifications as regards the current status of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, re-affirming that Oyo and Osun States owe the university saying that a committee is currently working on how to permanently resolve the mode of running the school. “As soon as they come up with their recommendations, we will abide by it.”
On Agriculture, Ajimobi who noted that 27 Chinese firms have shown interest in buying all the cassava produced in the state urged individuals who have expanse of land to donate it for the purpose of Agriculture promising that the state government would support farmers with farm implements. “We can sell farm implements to genuine farmers with 70 percent discount”, Ajimobi added.
In the same direction, the state Commissioner for Education, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela explained,“Last year, we came up with a circular that there will no longer be automatic promotion. That decision has come to stay. We discovered many terrible things in our schools. Before, any student who did not do well in the examination only need to part with N50, 000 and such a student will be promoted. What do you expect from such a student? Such a student will turn to a fraudster. We have stopped that now.”
He said that schools have been reclassified saying that the new categorisation of schools is determined by lower and upper limits in terms of students’ enrolment, teachers posting, and other resources. He said that schools would be categorized as Urban Schools with a population of 1000 and above, Semi-Urban Schools with between 250 – 999 students’ population and Rural Schools with a population of 60 – 249 taking into consideration the Universal Basic Education Commission standard, probable infrastructure, current enrolment and availability of teachers.
Olowofela further stated that each student would pay N1,000 per term for development levy; the levy which would be collected by the SGB would be channelled towards infrastructural development.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education Dr. Bisi Ale lamented the incompetence of the teachers describing them as rusty hence, the government has to take all the steps to restructure for the better educational system.