By Amaka Abayomi
Education is not only instilling knowledge, but awakening the enormous creative potential that lies within each one of us, enabling us develop to our fullest potential and better contribute to the societies in which we live.” — Dr. Frederico Major, former Director-General of UNESCO.
This set the tone for the education summit organised by the Osun Movement for Peace. Tagged: Osun Education Policy: Issues, Challenges and Imperatives, and held in Osogbo, the state capital, the summit, which had educationists and leaders from all walks of life in attendance, was to solicit support for the sustenance of the state education policy as the catalyst for socio-political and economic transformation of the state in the near future.
In her keynote address, the Deputy Governor, who also doubles as the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, said the policy is to produce students who can compete effectively and perform excellently in any global or local setting.
“Osun education policy seeks to empower the youths to be roundly relevant in meeting the challenges of their immediate environment and the society at large. We inherited a moribund education sector from the immediate past government as public school buildings were dilapidated, instructional materials, teaching consumables, materials and resources that could aid learning were non-existent.
“From statistics, only three per cent of products of our public school system used to move on to the next phase of their anticipated education plan. But within three years of our administration, records show that 43 per cent of our students now qualify to matriculate in any university.
“Presently, the state government has committed N14.41bn to the O’School project and has built 13 elementary, 14 middle, and 12 high schools, which translates to 1,724 classrooms. Also, N1.6bn is being expended on renovations of schools that we will not rebuild outrightly.
“Likewise, we have spent N2.5bn for the purchase of 150,000 befitting furniture for 300,000 students so that pupils and students will not be crowded into a small room without adequate sitting arrangement, which is necessary for conducive learning.”
In his presentation, Chairman, Osun Schools Infrastructure Development Committee, Chief Lai Oyeduntan, decried the attempt by ‘mischievous political jobbers’ to malign the policy and derail the execution of its noble ideals which are meant for the reorientation, empowerment and fortification of Osun children.
Lead speaker at the event, Prof. Ayo Olukotun of the Lead City University, Ibadan, enjoined Nigerians to cultivate a fresh attitude of objectivity and pursuit of public good whenever public policies are analysed and criticised.
He advised media practitioners to resolve to maintain reasonable professional detachment from politicians who can compromise positive ideals in the quest for political offices if the integrity of the media as credible watchdogs is to be sustained.