The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has likened the ongoing reforms in the education sector of his state to a surgical operation which must necessarily come with some pains but result in soothing experience after recovery.
Aregbesola, who spoke before an esteemed audience of Ijesa Society in Lagos on the recent hoopla generated by the ongoing education reforms said the reformations came as result of the age-long decay and dilapidation which the sector and some many others had witnessed in the past. He said the gains of these reforms far outweigh the pains when finally completed.
The Governor of Osun said, “On the surface, it looks as if we are deliberately out to inflict pains with the reformation of our school system. Nothing close to that is our intention. Not at all! We saw a hopeless situation of our basic education system. Because of my experience with the comatose educational system in the state that we were about to inherit, even from the days of my campaigns days, long before we assumed office, I made it very clear that we would carry out surgical attack on it during our campaigns.
“ Very clear! We mentioned our intention to the whole world that we will address the issue of poor and totally dilapidated educational infrastructure of basic education to aggressively solve the problem. But as usual, people do not give politicians because of their experience much of thoughts before the campaigns.”
He said further, “Some of our policies are necessary but painful and may not be well accepted now. “We are however convinced that surgery is not always pleasing and soothing to those who need it but the joy of recovery and healing afterward more than compensate for the temporary pain of going under the knife.” The governor pointed out. Aregbesola urged members of the society to make extra effort in whatever they are doing, stating that an average human person is often contented with the most minimal effort. He added that all humans should desire maximum results and that most human should recognise the efficacy of effort in producing positive outcomes, hence people should treat it as a virtue.
The governor revealed that the recognition of effort as an invaluable virtue is the essence of honouring those that have attained great heights in society by dints of hard work. In his words, “Human societies have instituted awards and honour as a mechanism for promoting these highly desirable virtues. “So, the Ijesha Society in Lagos is doing its good bit as a socially responsible group to confer recognition and awards on its members who have been appointed to distinguished positions and offices in the society. “Some of these awardees are people that are well-known to me and are, indeed, serving in various capacities under the State Government of Osun. They are people who have distinguished themselves in their chosen carriers, and for this, their services have continued to be in high demand in society.” Aregbesola noted.
Reminding his audience what he had proposed to do with the education sector when he came in in 2010, Aregbesola said he proposed to close down the schools in order to have a smooth sail in the rescue mission. He stated, “ Two months and fifteen days after our inauguration, we put together a world submit on education in which all known experts on education in the world were called to help us look at the hopeless education state of our territory. They were there for two days under the leadership of Prof Wole Soyinka. Everything was dissected.
“But at that conference I addressed the gathering in my opening remarks that left for me what I would have love to do was to close down the schools for a period of one year or at best two years so as to be able to do what is necessary to education.
“This was my position, but of course, my view was too radical. The communique came with series of steps to be taken to revamp the education and we have been at it since then.”
The Governor said his administration had done everything bring about efficiency and value for money. He added, “Rather than look at what we are doing as the best form to revamp education and ensure that our student have the best for our limited resource and maximisation of our resources for excellence and efficiency which has a whole of our efforts, sentiment and primordial issues were brought into it: “Aregbesola wants to islamise the State of Osun”
On other value-adding strategies, he said, “The reformation of the school feeding system has led to the spending of N3.6 billion every year from primary 1 to 4 which makes us the only state that so does in Nigeria. “And it is not just any food we give them, but the best food possible for the children of that age. Today in Osun, our pupil eat 300,000 eggs every week, they eat 35 heads of cattle every week, they eat 15,000 whole chicken every week, they eat 400,000 tones of fish every week and everyday the take fruits.
“I challenge any government in Nigeria since independence that has done something close to it. None! If people are talking about our school reformation policy, you can ask them, is it true that this government is feeding pupils with 300,000 eggs every week?, 35 heads of cattle every week?, 15,000 whole chicken every week?, 400,000 tones of fish every week and eat fruits everyday? Is it true that this government feeds 300,000 pupils every school day? Ask whether we do or not?”
Aregbesola said that the intervention has been yielding tremendous results saying that the improvements in the results of external examinations were enough indices of success. He said, “The change has been tremendous. The hopeless state we met whereby only 3 per cent of products of our high schools were matriculable has changed. Today, over 60 percent has crossed the bar. We were 32nd on the national examination scale, slightly better than our rating on the allocation table, since we are 34th out of the 36 states in Nigeria. We are number 8 on the national examination rating now. These are the results of our interventions.”
And to ensure this we employed 3007 women properly trained and groomed to give this food to these children. We raised grants to school from N200 to N400 per pupil per term. You cannot even geometrically calculate the change. From N52 million per annum to N1 per annum grant to school! Though, it is a far cry from the UNESCO recommendation, if I must admit.
How do we all of these? We made everything possible for our pupils in our public schools in Osun. At the end of the day we have do what no nation on earth has done! We put all books required for effective learning in secondary schools into a “tablet of knowledge” that is today the wonder of the world. Let those who know of any other nation, not even states that has so do to come up. None in the world. We are the first state that has put all text books required of high school Learning in a 1.1 kilograms on computer tablets that schools can have for as long as they ate students, free of charge in the state of Osun.
After all these, we now realised that we cannot continue in the old way whereby you have school with 3 students with 20 teachers and school with 600 students with 3 teachers. We felt that as it was done in the banking industry for efficiency and strength when privately owned banks were consolidated. Everyone of us supported the policy for efficiency and strength. People have forgotten there that were banks in Nigeria a couple of years ago that were no longer there now.