James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Ogun State Government has taken over the management of 28 community schools across the state.The State Go vernment also absorbed 577 teachers in these schools into its civil service system.
A statement by Kunle Somorin, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun said the state government took the decision because most of the community schools were insolvent.
Speaking further, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary, Secondary and Vocational Education, Mrs. Aderonke Soyombo said the primary interest was the number of children that would be affected if the schools were not absorbed.
“The number of children to be affected if the absorption wasn’t done would have risen to over 9,000,” Soyombo noted.
The Special Adviser stated further that the community schools were absorbed by the Prince Dapo Abiodun administration after they were rejected and left alone by the immediate past administration in the state.
“The schools were passed unto us. The last dispensation didn’t take them over; they didn’t absorb them. What we did was to absorb them.”
“What we looked at was the number of children that will suffer and the number of children that were going to suffer was going to be almost 9,000, because, instead of those children suffering like that, we will rather take them in and empower those schools,” she said.
Soyombo also disclosed that the state government took an audit of all schools in the state, including the absorbed 28 community schools, with the view of having clear data of schools in the state.
She added that the absorption of the 577 teachers won’t affect the current process of recruiting 1500 teachers into the state-owned schools.
She noted that even though they were given what looks like the data of schools in the state upon the assumption of the Prince Dapo Abiodun administration, but couldn’t work with the data because the data lacked the right information on the state of schools in the state.
“The absorption of the 577 teachers won’t affect the current exercise of recruiting 1500 teachers, it is a separate exercise, they gave us data when we came. There was no way we could run with the data because it was not clear on the areas where we will need teachers.
“The findings from our audit is that Ogun State is very lopsided: we had too many teachers in some schools, while some schools were quite under-staffed; so, the audit helped us a lot to solve a lot of issues,” she said.
Soyombo, however, fumed at the situation where some schools had no principal and vice-principals for over two years and a teacher teaching about 209 students in a class, saying that such would not be allowed to happen in the state under the Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration.
She also disclosed that the state government has identified about 10 rural areas across the three senatorial districts of the state with serious structural and teaching needs, saying that it was discovered that areas like Imeko-Afon, Ipokia, Yewa North, Yewa South, Ijebu North, and Ogun Waterside were worst affected.
She promised that in the next few months, schools in these local government areas would have a new lease of life.