…Premise of their protest faulty – GOVT
BY Gbenga OLARINOYE
OSOGBO—The controversies surrounding the new education policies of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State resurfaced yesterday as parents of children in public primary and secondary schools in the state protested against the new policies.
The parents, who converged on the state secretariat of the Parents Teachers Association, PTA located at the Government Technical College, Osogbo, condemned the common uniform introduced by the state government.
Led by Alhaji Mayowa Popoola, the protesting parents also claimed that the tablets of knowledge Opon imon given to students were not sufficient as many of their children could not benefit from it.
Also, the parents condemned the quality of school uniforms given to school children in the state, claiming that the uniforms are of low quality and could not last.
They also complained about the price of the uniform, which they said was expensive, stressing that not many of them could afford it.
The state government charges between N1,800 to N2,000 per uniform.
Addressing the protesters, the state chairman of the PTA, Dr Ademola Ekundayo appealed to the aggrieved parents to remain calm and promised to take their demands to the Governor.
He assured that the state executives of the PTA would meet with the government officials on how to ensure enduring peace in the education sector in the state.
Government, through Mr Semiu Okanlawon, Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, in its response to the protest by the parents said; “The premise of their supposed protest is faulty because the government has never claimed that it has completed the distribution of the tablets. Don’t forget that right from the day Opon Imo was launched, the government told the whole state that 50,000 units would be brought into the country by the manufacturers while 100,000 units are to be assembled at a factory for that purpose in Osun.
“What the Government has reeled out at campaigns are the statistics of distribution at various federal constituencies. For instance, the governor told the crowd at Iwo that so far, a total of 2,062 pupils have received Opon Imo in Iwo Federal Constituency while 2,299 tablets have been distributed in Ayedade/Irewole/Isokan axis.
“Do these figures represent the number of pupils who should actually get Opon Imo? The answer is no! So, where did they get the claim that government has said all pupils in the state have collected the tablets.
“On the issue of uniforms, nothing can be father from the truth because there is no single point of sale but several points of sale across the state. There are agents and distributors who supply these uniforms.
“If their grievance lies in the fact that a company manufactures these uniforms, the people have seen the economic benefits of mass production and how this has generated employments and boosted the industrialisation mission of the government.”