The Hidden Facts And Happenings In Osun Education And Its Consequences III
Permit me to start this write up by first congratulating everyone who subscribes to our Vision and Mission on the recent acknowledgement of our works, initiatives and programs by the US President Barack Obama through the selection of our Executive Director – Abdulahi Abayomi Abdulraheem, as one of the 105 Young West Africans and 39 Nigerians selected for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that is currently ongoing at the Regional Leadership Center (RLC), GIMPA, Ghana. This achievement is not of us but you. Without your supports, we wouldn’t have received this kind of honour.
This article looks at the Aregbesola’s contributions to the present status of the Osun State’s Education. Ogbeni (Engr.) Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is the Executive Governor of the ‘State of Osun’ from 27th November, 2010 till date. Aregbesola won the love and supports of the majority of Osun populace consequent to his performance as the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructures of Lagos State under the Administration of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He was a Lagos Commissioner when he ran for Gubernatorial Election in April 2007 on the platform of Action Congress (AC) in Osun State.
Two months after assumption of office, Aregbesola organized a ‘World-class’ Education Summit to chart a new way forward in the Educational Sector of the ‘State of Osun’. The Summit, which was chaired by Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, had in attendance Prof Peter Okebukola, Dr Akin Fapohunda, Dr Isaac Agboola, Prof Sola Adeyeye, Me Lere Osundina and State Government Functionaries of the ‘State of Osun’. They reportedly agreed on having three structures of Basic Education, that is: Elementary, Middle and High rather than the existing Primary, Junior and Secondary Levels inherited from Oyinlola. The Submit would have been the best platform to stepping up the Education of the State but its composition resulted in the downfall of the State’s Education. With due respect to the Governor’s-assumed ‘Stakeholders’, the REAL and MOST IMPORTANT Stakeholders appropriate for such a Submit are: Serving and Retired Principals; Serving and Retired Teachers; Parents and Members of Parents-Teachers Association; Civil Societies/Nongovernmental Organization working on Education; Representatives of Old Students’ Associations and Representatives of Students. All these mentioned people were irrelevant to the ‘World Class’ Education Submit of Ogbeni Aregbesola and that marked the significant failure of his administration which is presently manifesting in the State’s failed Education Systems and Policies.
Every decision made at this Submit failed to represent the solutions to addressing the Education Challenges of the State consequent to the non-participatory and/or distant participation of the ‘Stakeholders’ in the State Education Systems and Policies. The Governor was a Stranger to the State’s Education, likewise his assumed ‘Stakeholders’ – the results are the Strange Policies, Education Backwardness and Strange Happenings we now experience in the State’s Education.
Aregbesola committed another greatest error in making his Deputy Governor - Otunba (Mrs.) Grace Titilayo Laoye-Tomori – The Commissioner for Education. The error is not about her qualifications or experiences but her combination of powers and sharing of time. Osun Education demanded a full-time Commissioner for Education as at the time Aregbesola assumed office and even now. One would have expected that the job be given to someone who had his/her Primary and Secondary Education in the State, played some significant roles in the State’s Education’s Progress, and who would have all his/her times dedicated to the service. Tomori being a Commissioner of Education is like asking a Dog to keep watch on Two (2) Houses – how would this be achieved? This is a woman that the Permanent Secretary and every other Staff of the Ministry would be afraid to speak against her wish or proposal as it could lead to the immediate termination of their jobs. Aregbesola needs to go back to the drawing board and think over what we are offering him as solutions to the present precarious situation of our State’s Education.
Aregbesola deserved Kudos in the area of continuing the payment of WAEC of Osun State Senior Schools’ Students (SS 3) started by Oyinlola but Aregbesola’s kudos turned to abuse/curse for paying for every SS 3 Students’ WAEC without any form of measuring their ability prior to WAEC – in terms of Mock Examination – that was the bases used by Oyinlola to paying the Students’ WAEC during his tenure. The automatic payment for the WAEC of every Student who finds himself, luckily or otherwise, in SS3 further worsened the Education System of the State. This led the students to relax and go around with the slogan ‘Aregbe Je Gbese’, that is (Aregbe is in debt) whenever they fail the WAEC sponsored by the State.
Instead of Aregbesola and his Deputy Governor (Commissioner for Education) to sit down to think of the way forward, they rather compounded the State Education’s Problems by introducing and implementing another (secret) Policy that bars/disallows every student who fails the State Sponsored WAEC from re-enrolling for WAEC the following year at Government-owned Secondary Schools (presently known as High Schools) whether his/her parents is ready to pay for the WAEC or not. These failed Students who are more than 80% of the Students who enjoy the State-sponsored WAEC annually are then left to either enroll for SSCE at a Private School where they pay a minimum of (N70,000); or register with an Education Consult with a minimum cost of (N60,000) - where they are taken out of the state and under the strange care of the Education Consult to a far away State to write their ‘one-month’ WAEC resulting in them importing some beliefs and practices to the State; or are left to roam about the streets, ride Okada (bike) or join Yahoo Yahoo. Another reason given by the State Government to drive home the importance of the ‘No–repeat Policy’ aside the reasonable reason of cutting cost, has to do with corrupt Principals who were used to collecting money from External Students and enrolled them under the State-sponsored WAEC as seen in Oyinlola’s Regime. The question every Sound Mind asks is ‘Is beheading the Solution for Headache?’
Kindly join me next week when I shall commence the Critical Analysis of Osun Education Policies Under Aregbesola where we shall be taking the Policies one after the other, explaining how they would have contributed positively to the State Education if done sincerely and professionally, and how we can still get it right and move on to the greatest height we were known for, in the area of Education. I believe we all know that an Article can never be enough to analyze the contributions of the present Administration of Aregbesola to the present situation in the State Education’s System and as an Organization that is readily working to helping government proffer solutions to these compounded problems, despite the fact that we are not consulted, it is highly reasonable of us to give tips as to solving the problems.
From the Regional Leadership Center, GIMPA, Ghana, where I currently serve as a Young African Leader under the President Barack Obama’s Initiative (YALI), kindly join me next week to know more about Osun State’s Education Challenges, Contributions and Ways Forward. Until then, I remain a very humble young man and a founder of this NGO that keeps helping the State’s Youths voluntarily (Abdulahi Abayomi Abdulraheem).