The giant strides that defined the glorious past of our state and the leading role the state and its citizens have played in national and global affairs were direct results of the qualitative and free primary education programme, initiated by the Papa Awolowo’s regime in the old Western Region and sustained by some of the later administrations.
The importance of education, especially in the current globalized knowledge society where wealth of nations is no longer measured in terms of natural resources but by the quality of knowledge and enlightenment of the citizenry.
The focus is now on the brain rather than the brawns. Regrettably, our state has regressed in this very important sector in the last eight years, resulting in education that is neither affordable to the vast majority of our citizens nor even relevant to the demands of the time. Form has replaced substance.
Ogun State Institutions-at every level – that used to be the pride of all have been reduced to centres where ignorance rather than knowledge is being dished out. Institutions named after illustrious sons of the state have become embarrassment to their memory rather than tribute. Most programmes of the state’s higher institutions have lost accreditation in the last few years, putting the future of the students at jeopardy. Worse still, even the semblance of knowledge being imparted at the institutions is being corroded by lack of values and character
Teachers that are pivots and central to teaching and learning process are being neglected, and relegated due to poor welfare schemes and lack of coordinated programme of training and retraining. Incessant strikes have become the defining feature of our education sector. Dilapidated schools dot the landscape even as various fees and levies have been introduced in public schools putting education beyond the reach of the vast majority of our citizens. About 9,500 students withdrew from secondary schools between 2006 and 2009 due to financial in-capabilities.
The Schools have not received running costs in the last 3 academic years. In 2010, West African Examination Council (WAEC) withheld the results of SS3 students due to the failure of the state government to pay their registration fees to the Examination body. Teachers’ salaries were later deducted in July and August, 2010 to pay for students’ WAEC fees.
Our administration will reverse this ugly trend and re-energize the education sector. We shall increase budgetary allocation to this sector to at least 20% of the State Budget. In addition, there will be massive refurbishment of existing structures and construction of new classroom blocks with adequate equipment in the laboratories. At least 50 schools per Senatorial Zone will be refurbished within the first year of our administration. Teachers are the cornerstone of the education system. More teachers will be recruited to meet acceptable standards of teacher – student ratio while a comprehensive staff welfare and development programme will be embarked on. The glory and pride of our institutions will be restored through ensuring streamlining and accreditation of their programmes. Most importantly, the administration will ensure that relevant knowledge and skills are imparted in our schools through strengthened interface between the institutions and the industry.