Blazing The Trail In Education Sector

It is not a hyperbole to say the Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led administration in Osun has broken the perpetual yoke being experienced in the education sector prior to its inception. This report traces the steps that the administration has taken so far in the sector. Rauf Aregbesola-led administration in the State of Osun took over power on November 26, 2010, from the erstwhile Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola who ruled the state for the seven-and-half year. On the assumption of office, the administration summoned leading stars in the education sector, an initiative that witnessed the conveyance and presence of renowned academics, led by the African Literature Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and the host of other revered professors emeritus.

 

The Education Summit brought about the manifestoes and workable recommendations that helped the state to deal aggressively with the palpable rot in all the economic systems, particularly the untreated grey areas in the education sector. It is however on record that part of the recommendations given by the Summit was borne out of the well-thought-out conceptualised ideology that did not only address squarely the inefficiencies, deficiencies, insensitivity, lackadaisical and weaknesses of the ousted administrations in taking the bull by the horn to redeem the lost glory in the sector.

 

The first step taken, brought about the reclassification and re-categorization of public education sector into elementary, middle and high schools, as this gesture led to the erection of mega schools across the length and breadth of the state. The model schools which possessed all forms of modern facilities with a unarguably architectural design that has been the cynosure of all discerning eyes came to limelight through Osun Education Revolution Initiative and School Infrastructure Development Policy.

 

However, the initiator of the pacesetting ideology, Ogbeni Aregbesola on September 1st 2016 brought the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari to Osogbo, the state capital where one of the gigantic schools, Osogbo Government High School was commissioned. Prior to this, Ejigbo Government High School, located in Ejigbo township of Osun West Senatorial District, had been commissioned by Professor Wole Soyinka to whom the school was named after.

 

In building these edifices and renovating the dilapidated and deplorable school buildings across the nooks and crannies of the state, one can never rule out the consciousness of equity and evenness deployed by the Aregbesola-led government at ensuring that no Federal Constituency or Senatorial District is left out from his innovative ideology that culminated into the multitude of school infrastructure developments in the state. The model schools were built across the nine Federal Constituencies and three Senatorial Districts made up of Osun, while other infrastructural developments particularly, the widely applauded Osun Social Intervention Initiative followed suit.

 

Aside the fact that the largest chunk of the state’s treasury had been concentrated on re-energizing the slumbering education sector in the state, the Aregbesola’s government had in the last six years done justice to all sectors particularly education sector. The assessment of the investment made so far to repositioning education sector in the state revealed that except Osun, no state had made such move in Nigeria as education is seen as a non-negotiable priority of Aregbesola’s administration.

 

The available statistics revealed that eight Model Elementary schools were built and commissioned with 200 classrooms in Osun Central Senatorial District, whereas four out of these schools were built in Osogbo Local Government, one in Boripe Local Government, one in Odo-Otin Local Government, one in Irepodun Local Government and one in Orolu Local Government respectively with sum of N2billion.

 

It is on records that six Model Elementary schools were built and commissioned with 150 classrooms in Osun East Senatorial District where one was built in Ife Central Local Government, two in Ilesa East Local Government, one in Ilesa West Local Government, one in Atakunmosa West Local Government and one in Ife North Local Government with sum of N1.5billion.

 

Record also shows that six Model Elementary schools had so far been built and commissioned with 150 classrooms in Osun West Senatorial District, where two was built Iwo Local Government, one in Ayedaade Local Government, one in Ayedire Local Government and two in Ede South Local Government at the cost of N1.5 billion. Statistics has it that eight Model Middle schools were built and commissioned with 200 classrooms in Osun Central Senatorial District as three of them were located in Osogbo LG, one in Olorunda, one in Boripe, one in Ila, one in Ifelodun and one in Irepodun respectively with sum of N2billion.

 

Also, seven Model Middle schools were built and commissioned with 175 classrooms in Osun East Senatorial District with which one was built in Ife Central, one in Ife East, two in Ilesa East, one in Oriade, one in Obokun and one in Ife East Area Office (Modakeke), executed with sum of N1.8 billion. In Osun West, also built and commissioned within the same period are seven Model Middle schools with 175 classrooms, with one in Irewole, one in Ejigbo, two in Iwo, and two in Ayedaade at the cost of N1.8 billion.

 

Similarly, seven Model High schools were built at the sum of N4.9billion in Osun Central Senatorial District as Osogbo Local Government has five, Ila has one and Ifelodun has one respectively. Also in Osun East Senatorial District, two Model High Schools were built with which one is located in Ife Central and the other one in Ilesa East with the sum of N1.4billion. In Osun West, there are four Model High Schools built with one each in Ejigbo, Ede South, Iwo and Irewole local governments at the whopping cost of N2.8 billion.

 

The Aregbesola’s administration in conjunction with UBEC also renovated 606 classrooms across 87 Model Schools in Osun Central Senatorial District while more than 605 classrooms were renovated across 90 Models Schools in Osun East Senatorial District, just as more than 600 classrooms across 100 models schools were renovated in Osun West, Likewise, 21,048 sets furniture were supplied to the schools across the ten Local Government Areas in Osun Central Senatorial District and ý20,900 sets furniture was equally supplied to the schools across the ten Local Government Areas of Osun East Senatorial District, while 2,094 sets of furniture were supplied to schools across the local governments, local council development areas and area offices in Osun West.

 

Statistics further revealed that more than 55,000 students benefited from the free tablets of knowledge popularly called “Opon Imo” in Osun Central Senatorial District while over 45,000 students enjoyed similar gestures in Osun East Senatorial District, just as more than 50,000 students have benefited in Osun West.

 

On personnel recruitment, training and promotion, it is on records that over 2,500 Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) cadets from Osun Central Senatorial District were deployed to different schools as teachers while about 1,150 regular teachers were recruited from same zone as 9,200 teachers were trained in 26 different training programmes and workshops. Also, more than 6,057 teaching and non-teaching staff was promoted from Osun Central Senatorial District.

 

Over 1,500 OYES cadets were deployed to different schools as teachers in Osun East Senatorial District, while 1,004 regular teachers were recruited from same district and 8,391 teachers were trained in 26 different training programmes and workshops. Also, more than 5,000 teaching and non-teaching staff were promoted from Osun East Senatorial District.

 

Over 2,000 Osun Youth Employment Scheme (O’YES) cadets from Osun West were deployed to different schools as teachers, while about 1, 076 regular teachers were recruited.  About 900 teachers were trained in not less than 26 different training programmes and workshops organized with State resources. Also, more than 6,000 teaching and non-teaching staffers were promoted from the zone. The amazing part of the state’s education intervention initiatives is the uncommon School Feeding Programme popularly called “OMEAL” that has become the prototype and model locally and internationally.

 

This innovative ideology, life-changing and health promoting initiatives also took it impact in the Senatorial Districts, as more than 85,000 pupils gets fed daily under Osun School Feeding Programmes through which more than 1,000 cooks were employed while close to 68,000,000 plates of meals have been served to pupils in Osun Central Senatorial District since 2012 with N4.760billion. More than 80,000 pupils gets fed daily under school feeding programmes through which 1,000 cooks were employed since 2012 and over 64,000,000 plates of meals have been served to pupils with N4,480billion in Osun East Senatorial District.

 

In the Osun West, more than 84,000 pupils get fed daily under the O’MEAL school feeding programme through which over 1,000 cooks were employed and about 68,000 plates of delicious meals have been served since 2012 across 500 schools at the cost of N4.8 billion.  Above all, close to 250,000 school uniforms were distributed free to students across the ten LGAs of Osun Central Senatorial District while more than 200,000 units of school uniforms have been distributed free to students in Osun East Senatorial District, just as about 300,000 school uniforms were distributed free to students across the 10 LGAs that constitute the Osun West Senatorial District so far.