Education is central to development and a key to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is one of the most powerful instruments to reduce poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for sustainable economic growth.
Research has proven that education is one of the most effective development investments in every state and nation. Adequate investments in education facilitate the achievement of most other development goals and increase the probability of sustaining growth.
Education builds the human capital that is needed for the overall development of a society or nation.
One of the cardinal points of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo during his electioneering was education, in which many people who later became heroes and heroines benefited from . Having realized this and as a way of protecting the unprecedented and proud legacy, the present administration in Oyo state, led by Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, took education as a top priority. This informed his ‘free qualitative and affordable education’ policy as one of his first six cardinal programmes.
Governor Makinde who believes that once education is given adequate attentions, all other things become easier, swung into action by announcing a free education policy in all public primary and secondary schools in the State in his inaugural speech in May 2019. Engineer Makinde has invested heavily in the reconstruction of some schools’ buildings and provision of modern infrastructure to some In order to make learning conducive for students. Trainings and retraining of teachers as well as motivation of other personnel have gone a long way in bringing out the best out of pupils and students.
In a bid to also ensure that no child is left behind regardless of his economic background, the State Government abolished the three thousand tuition fees and all forms of levies for all students in primary and secondary schools in the State and distributed free textbooks to pupils of public primary and secondary schools.
Furthermore, the regular payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances, the promotion of teachers and civil servants as and when due, provision of 26,500 pairs of furniture for students, appointment of over 5,000 teachers and 692 Education Officers, purchase of science equipment,
organisation of intervention classes for graduating SSCE students, purchase of textbooks and notebooks for students across the State, construction of over 50 model classroom buildings are among laudable and numerous interventions of the administration of Engr Makinde in the education sector.
Moreover, the present administration has provided a better funding for the education sector by raising its budgetary expenditure to 20.88 percent and increased subventions to tertiary institutions in the state by 100 percent.
Other giant strides include the upgrading of Emmanuel Alayande College of Education to University of Education and ensuring that Oyo State became the sole owner of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
In addition, LAUTECH was expanded to a multi-campus status starting with the Faculty of Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources, Iseyin Campus, and the state university was increased from one to three and lots more.
Furthermore, Increase Access to Quality Education at Primary and Secondary Levels for all Eligible Oyo State Children by 10 percent.
Encouragement of private sector to provide quality and affordable education in Oyo State; provision of scholarships for brilliant students to encourage competition in public schools; pursuance the enactment of an enabling law to keep school-age children out of the street during school hours;improvement of teachers’ quality through adequate training and development;provision of adequate pedagogical resources for effective teaching; provision of adequate furniture for students and staff;supply of equipment for science and laboratories.
Others are monitoring standards of learning and teaching in the state schools through an effective team; ensuring judicious use of available resources to meet stakeholders’ expectations of the school system in the state; provision and use of information and communication technology (ICT) facilities in government schools (secondary and tertiary) to enhance teaching and learning. Examples are interactive boards, projectors, and computers.
All these developments in the Oyo state education sector have led to
reduction in the number of out of school children by over 25 percent. The situation has also
earned the state some awards which include; the first position in 2022 NNPC, National Science Quiz Competition; the best candidate in 2019,2020 National Examination Council (NECO);Best Candidate in 2021,2022 West African Secondary School Certificate Examination ; First position (Physics) and National Rep.at 52nd Internal Physics Olympiad in Switzerland;
Winning of the 2023 Presidential Teachers and School Excellence Award.
In 2021, LAUTECH came first in the ranking of Nigerian Universities becoming
the best State University in the country, also,as the fourth-best overall university in Nigeria.
There is no doubt that Governor Makinde, has placed a high premium on the quality and standard of learning in schools across the state.
The Yoruba will say, ‘Oro po ninu iwe kobo’ (there are far too many words to encounter in a penny-worth newspaper!). There is much to reel out about the Makinde success story in the Education sector. Definitely, Makinde has already etched his name in the sands of time and would certainly be remembered forever in Oyo State.
Fasasi Ismail is the Media Officer attached to the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, Oyo State Government