February 8, 2011

Soyinka, Aregbesola, others lament decay in education sector

OSOGBO—Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, took a cursory look at the state of education in the country and called on the Government to declare a state of emergency in the sector immediately to arrest the situation.

Speaking at the education summit organised by the Osun State government at the Osun State University main campus Osogbo, Prof Soyinka lamented that past governments in Nigeria failed woefully in the education sector, describing the sector as a failure which needed to be rehabilitated immediately.

Prof. Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate (middle), flanked by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State Governor (right) and Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, Chairman, Tinus Communication, when Soyinka visited Ekiti State Governor, yesterday.

Although he appreciated the Federal Government for recognizing the crises in the sector, he urged the three tiers of governments to create an enabling environment suitable for learning.

According to him, “students nowadays learn under very harsh condition which in itsself could lead to crisis. There are no sufficient teaching materials in our schools again, there is poor welfare for the students and the library and laboratories are now empty.”

He enjoined the government and other stakeholders to give greater attention to education as a means of facilitating rapid socio-cultural and economic development of the country.

Governor Aregbesola, while speaking at the occasion, expressed dissatisfaction at the decay in nation’s education.

His words: “The statistics released by WAEC revealed that in 2009, of the 28,619 students who took the exams in Osun State, only 2,584 of them obtained five credits or better. In other words, in 2009, only 9% of our students did well after six years of secondary school education.

“If you think this is alarming, you will be even more alarmed by the statistics released by WAEC for 2010 when 21,503 students in Osun took the exams but only 1,675 students (7.8%) did well enough to earn credits in 5 subjects.”

In his keynote address, former Vice chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof Ibidapo Obe, said “most school leavers are unemployable because they lack functional and useful education.”

He observed that the current learning environment in most schools were neither attractive to the students nor the teachers. He called for clear policy consistency by government at both state and federal level.

Pro-chancellor of the state university, UNIOSUN, Prof Peter Okebukola, in his views, declared that education in the country needed urgent attention to save it from total collapse. He said “what the nation lacks is not ideas but political will.”