The Hidden Facts Happenings In Osun Education and Its Consequences I
The majority of Osun people and Nigeria as a whole only got to know about the backwardness in Osun Education consequent to the 29th position the State occupies in the WAEC-recently-released State Ranking. Almost everyone within and outside the state has been deceived that Osun Education was (and still) STRONG, HEALTHY and PRODUCTIVE as it was used to be. The true image of the decay in the State’s Education had been covered by the heavy presence of Educational Consults and some Private Secondary Schools who are specialized in helping Secondary Schools’ Students to pass their SSCE through all sorts of malpractices. Hence, the statistics of those who passed was far more than those who failed and that was successfully used, deliberately or otherwise, to cover the decay in the State’s Education.
It will be highly unfair to the present administration being led by Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola if this paper fails to rake the unfortunate incidences that led to the collapse of Osun Education, right from the regime and administration of Baba Akande before this present Administration ignorantly worsened the situation.
Baba Bisi Akande was the governor of Osun State from 1999 to the year 2003. I was in Junior Secondary School 2 (preparing for promotion exams to JJS 3) when Baba Akande (popular called) emerged the Executive Governor of Osun State under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD). It was a period that the Osun Education experienced a drastic U-turn from its epoch-making journey to the land of Academic Excellence. Let me quickly take us back to the Osun Education of pre-Baba Akande’s Regime.
The periods before Baba Akande’s regime, Osun Education was equal to none in terms of Quality, Quantity and Performance of its products. Ilesa Grammar School, Ilesa; Oduduwa College Ile-Ife; Seventh Day Adventist Grammar School Ede; Akinorun Grammar School Ikirun; Saint Margaret’s Girls School, Ilesa; Obokun High School, Ilesa; Fakunle Comprehensive High School, Osogbo; Methodist High School, Ilesa; Osogbo Grammar School, Osogbo; etc were the most competitive schools in the state. For you to get a placement into the JSS 1 of the aforementioned schools, you must have performed brilliantly well in the State’s Common Entrance Examination. Some of those schools were IAONIAN Schools with sophisticated Sporting Facilities. The Inter House Sports Sessions were like Festive Period across the State. The Primary 6 students were always preparing for their passing out as if they were preparing for Christmas and Eid-il Kabir. The period at which students posted to schools like Ife Oluwa Grammar School, Ilesa; Hope Grammar School, Ilesa; Aromolaran Grammar School, Ilesa; Ajimoko Grammar School, Ilesa etc were usually Academically AVERAGE or POOR Students. The period at which almost the most respected Secondary Schools had Fine Art and Applied Art Studios; Introtechnology Workshops; Typing Pools, Well-equipped Laboratory with Skeleton; Music Studios; Home Economics Workshops etc.
Those were the periods that our School Uniforms were our pride, as that told how superior, academically, you were over the other schools. Ilesa Grammar School’s uniform symbolized Academic Excellence and ‘Play the Man’ status. The periods at which you feared your Senior Students the same way you feared your teachers/principals. The periods at which the School Prefects maintained decorum in the school compound whenever the Teachers’/Principal’s Meeting was ongoing. The periods at which our parents labored to pay for our SSCE but with majority of us coming out in flying colours, haven seen the struggles of our parents in raising the money. The periods at which we had Teachers for Music, French, Fine Art, Introtech, Typing, Shorthand, Home Economics, Oral English, Sports/Physical Education, IRS/CRS etc. The periods at which some schools had a Counselor - to whom an errant student would be taken for guidance and counseling. The periods at which parents supported schools by paying for PTA Teachers to help enhance their wards’ accessibility to more subjects. The periods at which the Principals were not just a ‘Teacher-promoted-to-become-a-principal’ but were Administrators per excellence, Fathers/Mothers, Mr./Mrs. ‘No nonsense’, Disciplinarians and Mentors. A period at which we would have been informed of the coming of the State/Zonal Inspectorates of Education one/two weeks to their arrival. A period at which we were used to having either a Pastor, an Alfa or an Old Boy/Girl talking Moral and Academic Excellence to us on Fridays.
Baba Akande first move was the deduction in our teachers’ salaries with the reason of building the State Secretariat, which worsened Teachers Economic Condition and turned them to puppets. Baba later sacked some/all teachers taking the following subjects: Home Economics, IRS/CRS, Music, Sports, Language (Yoruba/Hausa/French etc), Fine Arts, Typing, Shorthand, Introtech, Oral English etc. While some teachers with B.Ed. in Religion, Dramatic Arts, Psychology, Linguistics etc were not left unsacked. As if that was not enough, the schools in the state were left to the mercy of their Old Boys/Girls and the Schools’ PTA (Parents Teachers Association). That was the period the PTA was so strong in the state. Education was not a priority in the Baba Akande’s regime. Our brilliant Teachers were turned to Taxi Drivers while we always saw them in Used Clothes (Bo si koro). Every child never wanted to become a Teacher!
The regime marked the significant period at which the Inspectorates of Education started being corrupt. The spirits of competition among schools were insignificantly dying down. It was a period at which Sporting Activities were gradually fizzling out of our Secondary Schools. We lost our great teachers to this period/regime while our finest principals were turned to history.
The consequences of the actions/inactions of Baba Akande regime bred and contributed (still contributes) to a lot of things that happen in the present day of the State’s Education: Sporting Activities that used to be a club for the stubborn and average students started dying; Absence of Moral Teaching via IRK/CRS took away beautiful songs and memorization that used to remind us of the child of whom we were; led to the present day cultism; The sacking of the then dedicated Teachers, Principals, Counselors etc is still hunting us in the state.
I am very sure that if you were a student of those periods, you would wish to add more of what I left untouched that happened to the Educational System of Osun State prior and during the Regime of Baba Akande.
I implore you to share this piece as well as to keep a date with me next week, when we shall be looking at the contributions of the regime of Omooba (Prince) Olagunsoye Oyinlola to the present day’s Education Challenges and Backwardness of the State of Osun.