The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has reassured the citizens of his administration’s determination to place the state to an enviable height never known in history.
Aregbesola also reaffirmed that the current government in the state would not in any way be deterred by the current economic crisis in its bid to promote functional and quality education.
Governor Aregbesola gave the assurance while addressing the people during the official commissioning of St. Micheal’s R.C.M Government Middle School, Ibokun, Obokun Local Government Area of the state.
Aregbesola disclosed that the school being commissioned in structure, furnishing and landscaping cost the government a total sum of N164 million.
Aregbesola noted that committing such huge sum on a school is a clear sign of commitment to basic education particularly in the face of the obvious lean resources of the state.
He said his government was not building the schools across the state for showmanship, but rather for the development of the new man intellectually, socially and morally, saying new man is placed in the centre of society, who views his own development as part of and for the development of society.
According to him, “this is a non-parasitic and non-oppressive man who regards his or her own existence in light of the growth of others; he or she views whatever he acquires to be subsumed in the overall interest of others.
“He is a man in himself and a man for society. This is the Omoluabi essence. Everything we have done in the school reform is for the building of this man.
“We are also developing a man of the future who will take a pride of place in a competitive digital and knowledge driven world. From these schools will emerge world renowned scientists, diplomats, educationists, jurists, clerics, statesmen, inventors, academic and entrepreneurs.
Recounting some of his achievements in education sector, Aregbesola said his government has successfully provided e-Learning tablets (Opon Imo) for final year high school studebts in the state just as free school uniforms for pupils in public school were provided.
According to him, “Our free school feeding and health programme (OMEALS) has been adopted nationally and had won applauds across the globe. The food programme is not just to develop the brain and confidence of our pupils, it is also a way of poverty alleviation for parents who do not have the means to send their pupils to school”.
He said the state was bent on revamping , reviving and resuscitating the education sector, stressing that his government has transformed the old ramshackle buildings into architectural masterpieces that will make school and education attractive to the pupils and their teachers.
The Governor explained that the middle school, like the others building in the state, has the maximum capacity for 1000 pupils, 28 classrooms, an ICT room equipped with 30 computers, 24 toilets for pupils and teachers, three head teachers/principals’ office, one staff room, one facility manager office, a multipurpose hall, food court, library, sick bay, security/reception gatehouse and recreation zone.
He disclosed that his government since inception has been building a total of 170 state of the art schools with 100 of them at elementary, 50 middle schools and 20 high schools, saying out of these, 14 elementary schools, 15 middle schools and 11 high schools have been completed.
He said, “Some are already commissioned while others are receiving finishing touches and waiting to be commissioned too. We are going to complete them before the expiration of our tenure. None of our projects will be abandoned.
Aregbesola who condemned in its totality the insinuations that the female students across the public schools should be allowed to wear religious garments in place of uniforms to schools, said any student found with uniform contrary to an authorized uniform for public schools would be legally dealt with.
Governor Aregbesola bemoaned over the move purported being sponsored by an unnamed religious group in the state, instigating secondary school students to wear religious garments to schools in place of the official uniforms, adding that the current government would not condone any act of indiscipline.
According to him, “the government therefore cannot support or be seen to be supporting a particular religion. The government is a democracy, not a theocracy.
“It is not the role of government, through the schools, to lead a child in a particular religious direction. That will be for parents and religious institutions, in private capacity, until the child is grown enough to make a decision on religion.
“For this reason, our government will not hesitate to deal with anyone flouting the court order on the wearing of Hijab by the female Muslim students.
“It is our believe as a constitutionally rooted government to continuously respect the law of the land as well as other constituted authorities before taking any decision as it amounts to subversion of the educational needs of a child for him or her to be drawn into and used for political purposes.
“I want to make it clear again that the fundamental role of government in schools is to equip every child with the intellectual and moral requirement needed to be useful for himself or herself and society.
He therefore warned residents not to allow themselves to be used as instrument in the hands of the opposition, just as he called for religious tolerant.
Earlier, the State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye Tomori, said the numerous developments going round the state were clear manifestation of what the present government stands for.
Mrs. Tomori who doubled as the state commissioner of Education said the prompt intervention of Governor Aregbesola in education sector had really snowballed into greater performance of pupils and students in both learning and character.
She disclosed that the state under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola had successfully equipped the state pupils and students the needed facilities, saying Aregbesola has provided enabling environment capable of facilitating smooth teaching and learning process.
“The commissioning of this school at this special economic period symbolizes our avowed commitment to turn around the education sector.
“The exercise also confirms the actualization of our mission statement in the provision of structurally and architecturally designed schools coupled with the adequate provision of the state-of-the-art facilities to improve level of quality education.
Speaking on the various achievements recorded in education by the current government, Mrs. Tomori hinted that 20 elementary schools, 22 middle schools and 17 High schools are already either put into use or at completion stage.
According to her, “Our laudable feat in all sectors shows that we are unstoppable as we have been treading the path to greatness as we assumed office.
The Deputy Governor said the commitment of government towards the building of edifices around the state was in furtherance of the fulfillment of its electioneering campaign promises made to the good people of the state.
“Building state-of-of-the art schools being equipped with modern facilities to enhance teaching and learning is indeed one of the many recommendations of the education summit held in 2011 to arrest the rot in the education sector.
“The edifice we are commissioning today is in no doubt the architectural masterpiece of our administration in the quest to build a new man of greater intellectual capacity.
“This school is purposefully built and tailored towards functional, efficient utility service delivery.
“Our government believes in the development of a complete and total man as such requires us to strengthen our education system in such a manner that common man can access.
“For this purpose, our government would not in anyway condone any act of indiscipline in our schools.
“We shall maintain high level of discipline in all the public schools, as this noble gesture calls for collective support of parents and teachers towards the achievement of greater future for our children”, Mrs. Tomori stated.
She therefore called on the pupils, teachers and parents to imbibe good maintenance culture towards the utilization of the school so as to justify the huge investment being made in education by the current government.
In his remarks, Chairman, Osun State Universal Basic Education, SUBEB, Prince Felix Awofisayo, charged parents and guardians on the need to complement government efforts with regular tax payment.
Prince Awofisayo who implored the parents to prioritize the welfare of their children and wards towards the actualization of brighter future, said quality education remains only sustainable legacy a parent could bequest on his child.
SUBEB Chairman applauded Governor Aregbesola for setting an unforgettable legacy and standard for the state in all aspects of the economy.
In their separate remarks, the Alademure of Ibokun, Oba Festus Kayode Awogboro; Chairman of the Chairmen, Local Government Education Authority, Mr. Yisa Ojewola; Chairman, Community Based School Management Committee, Chief Olasoyede Fadeyibi, Member representing Obokun State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Bosun Oyintiloye among others, commended Governor Aregbesola for being aggressive towards the promotion of functional, quality and qualitative education.