A former consultant to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Dr. Amiel Fagbulu, has described the new education policy introduced by Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State as a good step in the right direction.
Fagbulu, in an interview with journalists in Ilesa, urged the governor to forge ahead with the policy of school reclassification, saying it was in the interest of the people of the state.
The ex-inspector of education in the defunct Western Region explained that the policy would enable government to expend its limited resources on fewer schools, which would bring about optimal results in the state’s education system.
He said, “The school reclassification is very good. It did not start today, it started in 1961 when few number of students were attending schools scattered all over.
“It is not right for the Christian Association of Nigeria to prevent boys or girls from being merged in any public school. The schools no longer belong to them since they have been taken over by the government. They cannot claim ownership of those schools any longer.
“The schools were taken over because their managements refused to pay teachers and teachers’ promotion was not based on merit, despite the fact that government was giving them grants to run those schools. They were compensated when government took over the schools.
“On the argument of single sex schools, it is even better for boys and girls to learn together because it promotes healthy rivalry among both sexes.
“Again, the pupils do not live in a single sex community, do they? So, what are we talking about?”
Fagbulu, who served as an adviser to the Asabia Commission, which recommended the schools’ takeover in 1975, advised Christians who were preventing hijab-wearing pupils from being merged with Christian missionary schools to have a rethink, adding that the development could precipitate crisis.
Also, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has reportedly urged Aregbesola to continue with the implementation of his administration’s policy of reclassification of schools.
According to a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy Osun State, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, Ooni at, a public assessment forum held in Ile Ife, commended Aregbesola’s commitment to development and asked him to continue with the new education policy.
The Ooni, who was represented by the Obalufe of Iremoland, Chief Folorunsho Omishakin, was quoted in the statement as saying, “Your programme, too, will succeed like that of Obafemi Awolowo. When Awolowo started the reform, people antagonised him. They said the programme would not succeed.”