I have painstakingly read Dr. Festus Adedayo’s piece under reference and my learned colleague, Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju’s rejoinder to same.
On this, I stand and align with Dr. Adedayo.
A careful and thorough reading of Dr. Adedayo’s article in question would reveal that it was a very balanced one and had seriously considered and dealt with fairly all the fears and issues raised by Aare Olagunju, that one would even be worried whether there is any need for that rejoinder as it seems to be unwarranted and merely whipping up mere sentiments and emotions.
I am a product of the free education programme introduced by the UPN led government in Oyo State.
May the good Lord continue to grant our Mentor, Benefactor and Role Model, Uncle Bola Ige eternal rest. He and the other UPN Governors meant well for the children of the poor ( including my humble self) , but the policy was poorly executed and I will use my own school, Urban Day Grammar School, Elekuro, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria as a case study.
The school, UDGS, Elekuro, Ibadan was founded in 1980 and we were the pioneer students. That year we were all offered automatic admission into the school like all other schools as the UPN government cancelled the common entrance examinations into secondary schools across the state. Admission was thus an all,-comers affairs which was the basis of the weak foundational structure of that policy. Promotion exams were also almost automatic until General Oladayo Popoola who became the Military Governor in 1984 reversed that ugly trend. May the good Lord continue to bless that fine officer and a Gentleman who is still alive.
Biola, in UDGS Elekuro, beside our School Principal, Mr. Israel O. Fagbemi (now of blessed memory) who was a university graduate, all other teachers in our school are Grade II and Associate Teachers.
In actual fact, we did not have any graduate in UDGS until we got to Form 4 when we had Mr. Oni and Miss Akintide (of blessed memory) as our Chemistry and Economic teachers respectively .
Until we passed out in 1985, we didn’t have any graduate teacher to teach us English Language and Literature in English.
In years 1, 2 and 3 , Yorubas were being used to teach us almost all the subjects as our teachers too were not good in English Language. They were good teachers no doubt as they always struggled to cram and just poured out the subjects on is without themselves to unable to understand what they were teaching us. We used to call them “agberu-gbeso”.
We didn’t have science laboratory until the third term of Form 4.
You will agree with me that the dismal and woeful results of the WASCE May/June 1985 was due to the poor foundation of that free education policy.
In my school, only 2 students had P7 and P8 in English Language as all others made F9. It was that woeful.
Aare, you will agree with me that we were used as guinea pigs by the government as no member of that government sent any of their children or wards to the types of our several urban days or community schools they established in 1980.
It was by the providential grace of God coupled with our determination to succeed that negligible numbers among us made it to higher institutions as the greatest proportion of that educational policy have been consigned to uncertificated school certificate drop-out for life.
You will also agree with me also that even till date, that weak foundational structure in our secondary schools are still obvious in the oral English of most if not all the products of those Urban Days and Community Schools.
Dr. Adedayo was right when he quoted that Yoruba proverb that ” A charm obtained ex-gratis would be handled and treated with levity and as trivially unimportant by the beneficiary.” That is also the case with free education.
Engineer Seyi Makinde, the Governor of Oyo State should please, in the overall interest of the state and for good governance , stop playing to the gallery.
Even in 1979, our parents were asked to pay Development Levy as distinct from the compulsory poll tax before their children could benefit from the said free education. This clearly shows that there is nothing that is free, even in Freetown.
Engineer Makinde should embrace and restore the N3,000 levy or may even reduce it to N1,000, but its outright cancellation was done in bad faith and for other primordial considerations that are not in the interest of the pupils, parents, teachers and the educational system in Oyo State.
The Immediate Past Governor and the father of the modern Oyo State put in place some laudable policies for the state educational system which must be sustained if we want to transform Oyo State educational system and such include the School Governing Board System and the re-introduction of the Inspectorate system in Schools.
With the current school enrolment and large number of schools in Oyo State and any other state in the South-Western states, it would be preposterous to introduce free education at any level in this age and time. Any attempt to do so would be providing the children with QUANTITATIVE and not QUALITATIVE EDUCATION.
By Asiwaju Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo
Former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Oyo State
Oyo govt retains Ajimobi’s SGB policy, but…
Oyo state government has disclosed that it had no plan to proscribe the School Governing Boards (SGBs) policy of the Abiola Ajimobi led administration in public schools, but had worked on reviewing the mode of operation of the initiative.
The disclosure came on Friday from the Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Adeniran who said that the Governor Seyi Makinde led-administration would further strengthen the idea of SGBs through genuine participation and inclusion of all stakeholders, but would not subscribe to extortion of the masses.
Nureni called on old students and other stakeholders to intervene and contribute to the development of their alma-maters, appealing to them not to relent in their various efforts at developing their old schools.
“Oyo State government has not proscribed SGBs in schools. Old students can still intervene in their various school projects. It is laudable and as the governor had made known in his inaugural address, any policy that is seen as beneficial to the generality of the people of Oyo State will not only be supported and but be leveraged upon.
“What we are ill-disposed to is the idea that some people will use the initiative to milk the unsuspecting general public, and we have worked on this to reflect the true sense of what SGB should be.
“We are not pleased with extortion of pupils in public schools and that is the only thing Governor Seyi Makinde’s government has put a stop to. We have never been aversed to the idea of SGBs”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, Oyo State Government has expressed its displeasure towards Messrs. Stock-Shield Ltd, Geostud Energy Consult and Bumtitas Ltd contracted by the last administration for school projects and have abandoned the site.
The Federal Government- Universal Basic Education Commission and Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board intervention projects at Ebenezer Primary School, Akingbile, Olunde Junior Secondary School and Oluyole OLGC Primary School, Ayegun, respectively have been abandoned by the two contractors.
The need for the invitation extended to the contractors was based on what the State government described as ‘faulty’ quality and design of projects that were among the 2012-2013 FGN-UBEC/SUBEB projects inaugurated by the previous administration.
Speaking for Government, Dr. Adeniran said he could not understand why such projects should still be left undone and would liked the contractors to show up and defend the faulty lines in the project designs,
“Throughout the world, there is what we all know as accountability, especially from the one that is offering service. Also, in a situation whereby the one that is being served feels not satisfied, there should be dialogue and from there, progress. We want these contractors to show up so that we can rectify grey areas and move on,” he posited.
Large Turnout As Oyo Pupils Write Placement, JSS3 Exams For Free
Pupils of public and private primary schools and junior secondary schools in Oyo State came out in large number on Tuesday and Wednesday to write the State’s placement examination into JSS1, popularly called ‘Common Entrance’ and Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) as well as the Competitive Entrance Examination into Schools of Science in the State.
The exercise which was monitored by Head of Service of Oyo State, Mrs Ololade Agboola was certified satisfactory in comparison to the number that had sat for the same examinations in the past, due to the fact that the State declared that no student should for any of the examinations.
Mrs Agboola said it would be on record that the unprecedented number of pupils that sat for each of the three examinations indicated that the State government has done the needful towards reducing the number of out-of-school children in the State.
Oyo State was one of the States that have the highest number of Out-of-School children in the 2019 report of the Universal Basic Education Commission.
Governor Seyi Makinde announced immediate stoppage of school fees and any payment for public examinations in Oyo State after being sworn into office in May 2019.
Mrs Agboola said “we have seen the direct impact of the declaration by Governor Makinde against payment of school fees and examination fees for public primary and secondary schools in Oyo State.
“The number is unprecedented as confirmed by the education administrators and even parents that came with their wards to the examination centers were too happy for the gesture of this administration.
“We are using this opportunity to call on teachers and school administrators to key into this laudable effort of the State government to bring back to school, the children that have left and are engaging in things inimical to their own future and the future of our nation.”
The Head of Service who monitored the Common Entrance Examination Exercise with management team of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Ibadan Metropolis and other parts of the State declared that materials needed for the examinations were adequately supplied, which made the exercise flawless and hitch free.
She however advised parents to support the present administration under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde in his educational policies to take the State to a greater height among its peers.
The Principal, Loyola College, Ibadan, Mrs Rebecca Oyebamiji said the punctuality of the students and invigilators at the examination center showed that they were ready for the exercise.
Oyebamiji noted that, no fewer than Two Hundred and Thirteen (213) pupils collected the forms and they all sat for the examination.
Brexit upheaval brings opportunity for African educators
The influential magazine Foreign Policy published an article at the end of 2018 entitled
A grim outlook for the British education sector at the start of the year has only got worse as the nation prepares for a “No Deal Brexit” and a long period of uncertainty around UK trade and immigration policies.
A joint letter sent by the heads of 150 UK universities to British Members of Parliament called a No Deal Brexit one of the “biggest threats ever” to British universities. The letter stated “vital research links will be compromised, from new cancer treatments to technologies combating climate change. The valuable exchange of students, staff and knowledge would be seriously damaged.”
British universities are now warning that international students, worth £26bn to the UK economy, will opt for countries such as the US, Canada and Australia instead. Already Australia has moved ahead of the UK as the second biggest destination for overseas students.
However, in a time of crisis for UK universities, opportunities could open up for African higher education institutions. While political developments like Brexit are putting up increased barriers to free global movement, the demand for international education and experience has never been higher.
A British Education in Africa
Since 2002 Rushmore Business School in Mauritius has offered British education in association with British universities from its base in Mauritius. The idea of a winning a British degree without the high cost of relocating and living in the UK proved popular with Mauritian students. Rushmore now offers over 60 programmes in collaboration with UK institutions, some up to PhD level.
Dr Essoo announced plans to open new international Rushmore campus in East Africa and Europe.
Both moves would represent a significant reversal of the current trend in Mauritian education of attempting to build the country as an education hub and attract students from Africa and India to study on the island.
Future of Pan-African Education
A Mauritian higher education institution moving into East Africa could be a significant moment in the development of Pan-African internationalist education.
Dr Essoo outlined Rushmore’s development strategy by stating “We were the first institution to really look at this idea of the education hub, of developing Mauritius as a knowledge hub. The previous government started the education hub programme and this government has continued.
However, having looked at it we realised that we are maybe putting the cart before the horse. My personal opinion is that we have tried this education hub approach and it hasn’t worked very well. We attracted maybe 10 to 15% of our students from Africa and India.
I think our next step needs to be going physically to those markets and expanding there. We are working on that now, we call this the third stage of our development. The first stage was setting up initially, the second stage was building our campus here and consolidating what we had, and now the third stage is to go in to other markets and take our model there.
The plan is to have campuses in Mauritius, Eastern Africa, and Europe offering the same courses and offer students mobility between the three campuses. Students from Europe could spend some time in Africa and some time in Mauritius, and see three different cultures. We would then be a truly international school or University and students would get a truly international education.
In addition to Africa, a lot of Europeans, particularly from eastern Europe, study in the UK either for their full degree or for one term or one year through exchange programmes such as Erasmus.
We believe that with Brexit there is going to be an impact on education and on those students. We believe that we can go into those European markets and offer British education.”
The developments at Rushmore highlight the rapid changes the international education market is going through.
Demand for international education has never been higher. However, the traditional education markets in the global north are fostering political environments increasingly hostile to internationalisation.
International higher education is now a $1.9 trillion global market and enrollments in higher education institutions are projected to grow by 200% by 2040. Total enrolment across the African continent will roughly triple from 7.4 million students to nearly 22 million by 2040.
The continent must develop leaders with both a Pan-African and internationalist mindset. The expansion of institutions such as Rushmore Business School will be a significant catalyst in created an integrated African higher education sector able to attract partnerships with the leading British and international academics and teachers.
Rushmore Business School offers a wide range of programmes that address Africa’s future development needs, from engineering, business, hospitality and tourism through to aviation.
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