Opon Imo - Tablet of Knowledge: A Thin Line Between Success and Failure
Opon Imo: Tablet of Knowledge is an e-learning device, the first of its kind in Nigeria that was provided by the State Government of Osun under the Administration of Ogbeni (Engr.) Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola to equip students with knowledge and make it easier for them to pass School Leaving Certificates Examination. The device which was officially launched on Monday 3rd June 2013 at Ilesa had lots of dignitaries in attendance. The Android 4.0 PC Tablet has a Dictionary, Bible, Quran, Ifa Book and Health Book. It also has Development Games such as Chess, Sudoku and Tetris. It has 512 MB of RAM and an Internal Storage Capacity of 32 GB. The vast majority of Osun populace embraced the development. Only few people saw the side effects of the device but they had to keep mute consequent to not being tagged anti-Aregbe’s administration.
According to Bambo Bashorun, the Director of ICT of the State and Project Director of Opon Imo, ‘Opon Imo is built in an android operating system. It is sub-divided into three (3) major Environments: the Virtual Learning Environment, the e-Library, and the Test Zone. The Virtual Learning Environment is that environment that houses all of the lesson notes for 17 Subjects as produced by our Master Teachers. The Test Center has 40,000 Past Questions and Answers for the 17 Subjects and for the past 10 years’ JAMB and WAEC. The e-Library has in it, 56 Textbooks for the 17 Subjects we offer in the State Electronically’.
One wonders why such a laudable and globally recognized device could now be termed ‘Failure’ by the larger percentage of those who initially commended the initiative! Majority of our people never knew that Aregbesola should be the last to be blamed for the failed Methodology and Operations of Opon Imo. There were lots of people whose contributions towards Opon Imo directly qualified them to be in the fore front of Blame Recipients. Bambo Bashorun, Sam Omoruyi and Azeez Badmus who were the Project Director, the Project Manager and the Technical Engineer of Opon Imo respectively should be in the forefront to explaining why the project fails.
Ogbeni Aregbesola had this to say in a documentary named ‘Opon Imo: Tablet of Knowledge’:
“I was at a Mall in Docklands. In the Mall while moving around, (I didn’t go there to buy anything actually. I just went for sightseeing – what we call Window Shop.), I got to a fairly big Bookshop in the mall. And while moving around the bookshop, I saw this e-learning tablet – e-reader, not e-learning. Electronic Reader is a tablet. It had some books – not many – probably 10 books on the e-readers. I have seen e-readers before then but at that instance, a friend of mine just looked at me and said ‘Will it not be good if we adapt this for our children in school?’ Clearly, the message sunk. I began from that moment looking at how we could get digitalized Text Books for our Students”.
From the above, I believe we can vividly see that ‘Opon Imo’ came to Osun State accidentally. It was never planned for. From the Governor’s Speech, one sees that he sought the professional know-how of the likes of Sam Omoruyi, Bambo Bashorun, Azeez Badmus and their likes. A Governor can never be all-in-all. The Technological ignorance of our governor could be obviously noticed when he publicly asserted that the Opon Imo could neither connect to internet nor browse, consequent to what these ‘ICT gurus’ told him.
It is the responsibility of Bashorun, Omoruyi and Badmus, as Professionals, to know that every device with USB Pod and Bluetooth would definitely connect to an internet and browse. It took the State Government lots of months before realizing the truth. The trio should have as well conducted a ‘Test-running Survey’ to knowing the effects of this ‘strange device’ on the end users – Students. Is it not inappropriate to keep mute in asking for the proof of Technological Expertise of all the parties involved in Opon Imo for making the e-books on the Opon Imo a deletable material rather than incorporating it into the system’s RAM? Hence, it became a Pornographic Device for more than 75% of Osun Students.
In a sane society that is ruled by Ethical Leaders, the introduction of such a device into the system would warrant the setting up of ‘Train the Trainees Program’ (TTP) prior to distribution of Opon Imo. The stakeholders to be trained could include selected Teachers from Schools, selected Students and Zonal Representatives of Parents Teachers Association (PTA). These people would be responsible for the training of the Beneficiaries of the device in their various schools. They would as well be responsible for feeding the government on the observed misuse of the device by their various students while proactive actions would have been taken at an appropriate time by the Opon Imo Team.
We are of the opinion that Opon Imo could have been the Best-ever Device introduced into enhancing the Educational System of any State if properly implemented. The Methodology, Approach and Implementation of Opon Imo ‘Tablet of Knowledge’ made it a partial failure and discredited the device of its Awards.
As every responsible leader takes the full responsibility of whatever happens in his/her tenure, the same is applicable to Ogbeni (Engr.) Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. We are quite aware that a lot of people would find this piece very educative as to knowing that the device has a Project Director, a Project Manager, a Technical Engineer as well as other Team Members that worked on the device. It would be really shocking if those who praised this initiative of Ogbeni are seeing talking against it rather than providing the ways-forward. The likes of Mr. Alabi Adedokun Abiodun (Master Teacher) Anglican Grammar School, Osogbo, State of Osun; Dr. (Mrs) Taiwo Adeagbo – Principal, Ata-Oja Secondary School, Osogbo; Aderinke Egbedun – Teacher, Ata-Oja Secondary School, Osogbo; Mrs. Titilayo Margaret Fadairo – Teacher, Baptist High School, Iwo, State of Osun; Mr. Rasaq Waheed Adetunji – Teacher, Baptist High School, Iwo, State of Osun who gave a lot of positive comments as regards the Opon Imo would do the State a good if they could offer their sincere observed Side Effects of the device to the State Government or make it an open opinion.
Notwithstanding, it is a bitter truth that Opon Imo ‘Tablet of Knowledge’ did/does more damage to the State’s Education than the expected good. But we are of the opinion that the device can still be perfected to delivering the expected positive results rather than condemning the device, which allegedly cost the state a whooping sum of N8.6 billion, to a trash.