INDEPENDENT OPINION: Human Rights Crusader Canvasses Sincerity On Osun Education Reform

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun on Civil and Public Affairs, Comrade Waheed Lawal, has urged members of the public to see the ongoing education reform from a broader sense, rather than religious or personal perception.

According to Lawal, the reclassification and merging of schools should be viewed from holistic angle of how the reform will improve the standard of education and academic performance of public school students in the state.

Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER in an interview in Osogbo on Thursday, Lawal stated that only the discerning minds would appreciate the education reform, appealing to the people to be objective and sincere while criticizing the reform.

Lawal, who commended various religious groups that have in one way or the other shown concern on the education reform, said the reclassification and merging of schools is in fulfillment of Aregbesola’s campaign promise of promoting functional education.

The human rights crusader maintained that it would be wrong for any group of people to accuse Aregbesola of planning to relegate or promote a particular religion through the education reform, arguing that the governor has never prioritised any religion above the others.

He said: “We were all in this state, when our children were studying under dilapidated school buildings, which posed serious threat to them and their teachers. We were all in this state, when only three per cent of our children have five credits in WAEC and NECO-conducted examinations. We were all in this state, when education was in total mess and shambles.

“Today, we are all happy to see the improvement in the performances of our children in both internal and external examinations. From 34th position on pass level in SSCE, Osun moved to 18 and now 8th position in 2013. “All the dilapidated structures in the schools have been replaced with model schools. The present administration has given life, hope and future back to the children of the masses, who are attending public schools. It will be sinful and unjust for anybody not to acknowledge these achievements.”

The SSA, however, warned members of the public against politicizing the reclassification and merging of schools, saying that such step will blindfold the critics from seeing the goodness of the new education policy.

Lawal explained that the reclassification of schools into three segments: Elementary, Middle and High School did not contravene the Federal Government education policy of 6-3-3, which means that, pupils of age 6-9 years will be in Primary 1-4 now termed Grade 1-4 and named Elementary, those in ages 10-14 will be in Primary 5-6 and JSS 1-3 which is now Grade 5-9 and titled Middle and then the High School with age 15-18 in Grade 10-12. He said the education reform is aimed at finding solution to the problems of education in the state, saying that the policy has been yielding positive result through the encouraging performance of the students in external and external examinations and competitions.