‘A quality control mechanism, controlled by tutors-general, is put in place to ensure adherence to envisaged standards’
Bunmi Obisesan, Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary of Osun Central Education District, is justifiably upbeat about the education system in the State of Osun. Under his watch and that of his other two colleagues, Kola Buari, Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary of Osun-East Education District, and Adisa Olabamiji, Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary of Osun-West Education District, the re-invention of the education sector in line with the state government’s radical and comprehensive policy has taken shape.
The teething problems that come with instituting such profound reforms are being competently addressed. As tutors-general, the trio hit the ground running after being appointed in September 2012. Their mandate to effectively monitor the teaching and learning process in the public schools has so far been accomplished through having their feet on the ground.
According to Obisesan, the state has employed over 6,000 teachers for the public schools. The tutors-generals have been carrying out their functions in the three divisions, assisted by records on teaching and learning. During regular visitations to the schools, the tutors-generals demand for these records and also trawl through the attendance registers to ensure that rules on attendance and punctuality have been met. Lesson notes are scrutinised.
Out of the 6,000 teachers recently employed, 3,000 are for elementary schools, while the other 3,000 are for high and middle schools.
“One of the main reasons for reclassification is to ensure that we maximise our resources in terms of infrastructure, personnel, the teachers and even the non-teaching staff, so that if you have a school with just 50 pupils or students and you have another with 10,000, you are going to employ the same number of teachers,” Buari told TheNEWS.
The government of the State of Osun is working towards UNESCO’s prescription of one teacher to 36 students. It has also tackled the challenge of inadequate teaching materials, with the distribution overseen by the tutors-generals. “I know that annually, the government supplies enough instructional materials to schools. It gives registers, diaries and chalk. In most of our schools for now, we still use chalkboard, but we are in the process of changing,” Obisesan explained.
Retraining of teachers is a strong item on the reform agenda. Seminars for this purpose have constantly been organised by the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, since the beginning of the reclassification of schools.
Motivation of teachers has similarly received adequate attention from the Aregbesola administration. Adedoja Olubunmi Kehinde, Principal of Salvation Army Middle School in Osogbo, said the regular promotion exercise has served a dual purpose: increase in remuneration for the teachers and a boost to their capacity.
“Any teacher that is qualified for promotion, gets promoted once he or she passes the promotion examination. One thing about the promotion examination is that it compels the teachers to brush up their books and even burn the midnight oil to upgrade their knowledge,” explained Kehinde, who recently passed the examination and was promoted from Grade Level 15 to 16.
Buari appealed to those opposed to the reforms to be patient and watch them yield fruits. “We should all be proud and applaud the governor over what he is doing in the education sector. They should allow the government to control the sector the way it wants because the government is the major shareholder. The government has 100 per cent shares in public school business,” he said.