By Shina Abubakar
WHEN former governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, launched tablet of knowledge popularly known as Opon Imo, the device was received with enthusiasm by students, teachers and parents believing that it will bring the needed revolution in the education sector, especially in the state.
But six years after in inauguration, the device is no longer in circulation
The device, according to Aregbesola then cost the state government a little below N3 billion to build.
Also, the device has three sections; e-textbooks, past questions (WAEC and JAMB) and virtual classroom for all approved subjects from SS1 to SS3.
Though some residents of the state were sceptical about the sustainability of the projects, the state government insisted that it is sustainable and more cost-effective.
Why we launched Opon-Imo—Aregbesola
Explaining the rationale behind the project to a gathering of academia at the prestigious Weatherhead Centre for International Studies of the renowned Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States, Aregbesola said the device will save the state N8.2 billion in buying textbooks.
Aregbesola told the gathering: “As part of our education reform, starting from next month, we are introducing Opon-Imo, an IPad-like computer tablet, which is a smart electronic teaching aid, to our secondary school students. This tablet is pre-loaded with 17 subjects that students offer during West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations, WASSCE, in the form of lesson notes and textbooks. It also contains six extra-curricular subjects in sex education, civic education, Yoruba history, Yoruba traditional religion, computer education and entrepreneurship education.”
Explaining the content of the device, Aregbesola said: “Also to be included in it is 10 years past questions and answers to be provided by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, and the West African Examinations Council, WAEC.
“The tablet has bridged the gap of carrying books in sacks, their wear and tear and subsequent replacement and also provides ready learning tools. Opon Imo neither has internet connectivity nor does it interface with other devices in order not to distract the students. Knowing that power is still a problem, especially in rural areas where there is no electricity, a solar charger will be supplied with it.
“Through this initiative, the state government seeks to expose pupils of its senior secondary schools to information technology at an early age.
“Our investment in computers for secondary school pupils was born out of our conviction that the future belongs to the digital age and it will be disastrous if our youth are not prepared for this.”
Six years after, Opon-Imo no longer visible—Students
However, six years after its introduction, Opon-Imo is no longer visible in schools.
It was gathered that the device was no longer in any of the public schools across the state.
Abass Abdullah, an SS2 student at Fakunle Unity High school said since he resumed in the school in 2019, he has not seen the device with either his seniors nor was it given to them.
According to him, the students have heard about the device and were elated that they would be using an iPad like device for learning. However, on getting to High school, teachers told them to forget their thought because the device is not available.
Also, a former student, Habib Olalekan, said some teachers hoard the device after graduating students returned it to the school.
He added that some students refused to return the tablet to their schools after final year examinations.
However, a teacher in a public school, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Vanguard that from inception, the devices were not enough which necessitated the distribution of the device in phases.
Staff in the Ministry of Education confided in Vanguard that the device is available but the ministry has a policy with regards to its distribution.
But efforts to get the reaction of the Commissioner for Education, Folorunso Oladoyin proved abortive as he neither picked his calls nor responded to text messages.