By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
The Oyo State Government at the weekend disclosed that about N5bn will be expended to repair the dilapidating structures in primary and secondary schools in the state.
Similarly, the state government has received 70,000 books covering different subject areas such as Mathematics, English, English literature, Physics, Biology, Economics, Algebra, Chemistry among others from a non-government and non-profit organization based in United States, Jewels of Africa.
The state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Professor Adeniyi Olowofela, who made the disclosure during a meeting with the state chapter’s leaders and representatives of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON) and All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) explained that N3b counterpart funding will be spent on primary education, while N1.9bn generated from the students’ levies and state government internally generated revenue will be spent on secondary schools in the state.
Professor Olowofela noted that every step needed to take for the smooth take off of the rehabilitation of schools in the state has been concluded, stressing that in the next 12 months, majority of the primary and secondary schools in the state would have worn new looks.
The Commissioner said that the state’s School Governing Boards (SGBs) for secondary schools in the state is yielding positive results with many old students’ associations working on the rehabilitation of structures in their schools while some others have signified interests, adding that the collaborative efforts between the government and stakeholders in the education sector will restore its lost glory.
Prof. Olowofela assured the representatives of the unions that those issues, which include dilapidated plants, teachers’ promotions, dearth of instructional materials, agonies of retired primary school teachers, alleged certificate forgery, reversion of appointments in the school system among others raised at the parley will be adequately addressed and resolved.
He appreciated the doggedness and commitment of the unions to ensuring quality education in the state, urging that stakeholders should always put issues in proper perspective and be factual in their presentation to the general public.
Speaking earlier, the Secretary of NUT, Comrade Waheed Olojede said that the union is not against local government autonomy but the management and funding of primary schools should be domiciled with the state government.
He said “There is danger in leaving the funding and management of primary school education with the local government. If the federal government does not want the repeat of the suffering of primary school teachers and neglect of primary education between 1990–94, the funding of primary education should not be put under the whims and caprices of local government councils. The government could give the responsibility of management and funding of primary education to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). We are not against local government autonomy but what we are against total control of funding and management of primary by the local government.”
Comrade Olojede, who observed that the SGB has lifted some of the difficulties and burden of schools management from the Oyo State Government, commended the state government for its efforts and initiatives to revive the education sector, appealing that the government should address the issues raised in due course.
While delivering the 70,000 books, the representative of Jewels of Africa, Mr. Deji Haastrup said ‘’Oyo state has always been forward looking and has shown a lot of interest in education and having a large population, the government will have its hands full and as such needs collaboration with the private sector and non-governmental organizations since all hands ought to be on deck to ensure we give the government the needed support to build education which is the foundation of development in the society.