The group, Osun Movement for Peace, said it was unfortunate that a unique and rich policy that could have translated into a national strategy for bail-out of the shambolic public school sector, has suddenly assumed religious and political coloration, fueled largely by mischief and partisanship.
The group, which claims to be non-political, noted that current trend of discussion relating to the Osun School system in circles expected to churn out informed opinions continued to focus solely on the reclassification of schools and an attempt to rubbish the wider public spirit and mission of the policy.
It added that efforts were being made to play down the holistic beneficial impact of the various components of the policy such as the OUniform, OMeal and Opon Imo, which have been adjudged as revolutionary concepts in public school management approach in the country.
The group described the on-going rejuvenation of the public school sector in Osun as a strong rebranding project that has begun to impact positively on the state’s overall education management profile as well as the state’s economy in key areas like job creation, empowerment and agricultural development.
It therefore called on all well-meaning Osun indigenes to shun sentiments and support the effort to create a new public school order in the state for the future of Osun children.
The proposed symposium which is to hold in Osogbo in the first week of March, will seek to dissect the various components of the much maligned Osun policy on public school management with a view to enhancing public understanding and appreciation of its desirability.
The symposium will also serve as a platform for constructive engagement of critical stakeholders to ensure the non-derailment of the noble vision behind the policy formulation.
It would be recalled that while counting the modest gains recorded by the state’s new education policy in less than two years of its implementation, the State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, had posited that the need for the policy as a comprehensive and holistic response to a scandalous educational rot, which had threatened the socio-economic growth of the state, was non-negotiable.
“Our education policy is tailored towards making the Osun public schools system produce the complete child, to become the complete youth and grow up to become the complete citizen, empowered in learning and in character, in the best tradition of the Yoruba Omoluabi.
“That way, they would be equipped, culturally and academically, anywhere they find themselves in the world, aside from becoming patriots, to take care of their state and country that had earlier taken care of them”, he explained.
He noted that the reforms have had tremendous multi-level impacts on the Osun educational competitiveness.
According to him, “In the area of funding, the reforms have led to a radical increase in grants and subventions for the administration of public primary and secondary schools as total grant for the 1378 pubic primary schools in Osun jumped from N7.4 million a year to N424 million a year”.
“Additionally, Osun, from a 34th placing among Nigeria’s 36 states in 2010, moved to 18th position in 2011 and 8th position in 2012, in performance rankings in the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE).
“Pupils from the state have also chalked up improved performances in national and international competitions, according to compilations by the Osun Ministry of Education.
“In addition, the reforms have earned a partnership with UNESCO to build a regional teacher training institute in the state, and a fresh programme in the area of adult education”.