Since Gov Aregbesola took over the state, the level of education just seems to be on a steady decline. I was embarrassed when I saw the break down of the 2015 SSCE results and my state, Osun, was 29th on the table, with 79 per cent failure. Even states that are battling with Boko Haram did better!
The South West states under performed: Ogun came 19th, Ekiti 11th, Ondo 14th and Oyo 26th. Only Lagos state made the top 10, coming 6th in the tables.
I have had cause to criticise Gov Aregbesola and his policies on education in the past, some of the reasons rather obvious. He has passed some rather petty laws like changing Osun state to ‘State of Osun’, how does the change of name add anything to the equation????
Over time though, I’ve realised that we would be making a big mistake heaping the blames of mass failure on the government alone. There is a bigger picture we need to look at.
The government is just one of the stakeholders. There are other key players we cannot afford to overlook: the pupils themselves, the parents and the teachers.
These policies are ambiguous, like the transfer of ownership of schools from the missionaries to the state government, a state government that already has a lot on its table. Other states are giving the schools to private operators and the results are there for us to see.
The merging of schools is another adventure that doesn’t look necessary to me. For a government that has the maximum of eight years to spend to spend in power, there’s no need to alter what we have much, just improvements here and there. I’m not totally against an overhaul but we have to see how beneficial they would be before we go ahead and quite frankly, the results so far has not been encouraging.
The Concept of Free Education
That aside, I have my reservations on the idea of Free Education. People simply do not value what they get for free.
These parents just give birth to babies and think raising them is the total responsibility of the government.
The moment you tell them to pay a token, they will start protesting. Sometimes the airtime they use in calling presenters on radios and televisions to show their anger towards the payment is even more than the amount the government is demanding from them. We have allowed the ‘Free Free’ syndrome to eat deep into the mentality of our people, they don’t even want to be responsible for anything.
Teachers and the Teaching Profession
For teachers, I believe teaching should be made a profession. Before you can stand to teach in class, you must attend teachers’ training.
Some people can’t teach one-on-one, yet you push them to teach in classes without the proper training.
Teaching has been made to look like the last option of job seekers, and it shouldn’t be. These are the ones who would shape the mentality of our future leaders.
How do you even justify teachers protesting against aptitude tests for teachers? You teachers conduct exams for students before you pass them on to the next class, now the state government wants to do the same thing before you get promoted to the next level, you are ready to go to war. Isn’t that hypocrisy? Some teachers cannot pass the exams they give to their students under proper supervision.
Payment of salaries and incentives in Gov Aregbesola’s Osun State
Throughout last session, Osun teachers only went to school for about 4 months, they spent the rest of the time at home on strike actions. How do you expect teachers who are not being paid to teach?
At a point, the state workers were only going to work on Mondays, they sit at home throughout the rest of the week but the government carries the burden, because they will demand for their pay.
When Osun workers tell you they’ve not been paid for 5 months, ask them how many days of the 5 months did they go to work? But it’s a two way thing, you can’t expect a man who has not been paid enough to cater for his family to teach in class, even if he comes to class at all, he would come to separate beans or egusi.
Our politicians are always happy to commission beautiful structures as classes, but what about the content? How do you balance the content of what you impact into the lives of the students and the structures you are putting in place so you can boast after leaving office that you built schools?
As for the students, its a topic for another day.
I’m only trying to make a point, we’d be making a mistake thinking governments, particularly Gov Aregbesola, should be the ones to be blamed in issues like this. We need to think of the roles each of the stakeholders play.
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