Education: The Bedrock of an Ideal Society0
Education, in its general sense, is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training and research. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels or behaves in the society. It could be formal or informal, and it must be noted that when we talk about it being the bedrock of the society, we refer to a perfect blend of the two. Right to quality education is one that has been recognized and propagated in Nigeria for a long time.
The educational sector, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Education, has a system that divides formal learning into kindergarten, primary, secondary and tertiary education. Also, the Federal Ministry of Education also performs the duties of implementing policies for State-controlled public education and state schools at a regional level.
Thus, it is saddening that despite the government’s recognition of the role education plays in nation building, the educational system of the country has been deteriorating over the years.
In its drive to ensure that the standard of education in Ogun State outpaces what obtains in other states, the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun has embarked on a free educational system at the primary and secondary levels in accordance with Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s tenets and ideals on education. His administration has shown its commitment to bringing about a sustainable change and re-energizing the education sector.
As evident in the State budget for the year 2013, the educational sector takes the lion share with a total of N44.3billion earmarked to the sector, representing 21percent of the total budget of N211.79 billion. This remarkable step to invest so much in providing quality education for the people will only yield result if there are qualified, committed, and motivated teachers who are capable of producing “Grade A” students.
Given the administration’s cognizance of the fact having well-trained teachers is instrumental to the success of any educational programme, there is a drive to rid the system of fraudulent and irregular activities like forgery and use of fake credentials as well as examination malpractices. As a matter of fact, successful attempts at sanitizing the educational sector last year attracted numerous commendations from different quarters.
In addition, the government has performed excellently in the area of human capacity development. Teachers in the state are consistently being put through training programmes to meet the constantly changing demands of their job.
For illustration, about N140million spent on Human Capital Development programmes for teachers in public primary and junior secondary schools was a huge step in the right direction. Also worthy of note is government’s unique idea of bringing into the state some astute United Kingdom tutors to assist in the raining of about 200 teachers in core subjects like English and Mathematics last year.
Recently, the current administration ensured that a teacher’s salary scale could peak at GL17 (the highest grade in the public service).
Realising that having qualified, well-groomed teachers without creating an enabling environment would be wasteful, the Amosun-led administration, as enunciated in the five –point agenda, intends to also rebuild Ogun State through qualitative, in standard learning environments. Consequently, it has embarked on a continual refurbishment of dilapidating classrooms and construction of new ones across the state’s senatorial districts.
The ongoing construction of model schools in all the 20 local government, along the line of “Ogun Standard”, is of even more significance. After completion, the 1000-capacity model schools, owing to the standard infrastructural facilities they possess, are expected to produce that brains ever to emerge from the country.
To further encourage proper knowledge impartation in the students, the Governor has directed that teachers salaries, allowances and all outstanding bonuses are paid as at when due. Already, 4,591 teaching and non-teaching staff of the Teaching Service Commission had been promoted in 2011.
At this age, the importance of science cannot be over-emphasized and that is the reason the government purchased and distributed Laboratory equipment such as microscope and human skeleton to all Secondary schools in the State. Having also distributed instructional materials and books for free, as well as payment of WASSCE fees on behalf of all SS3 students, government is also set to dole out school bags to all public primary and secondary schools.
Ogun state has been reaping good rewards from as a result of its kind gestures. Significant improvement in its higher educational system in which the students performed excellently well in the last WASSCE, NEC, SSCE results, is an attestation to this.
Also noteworthy, is the sponsorship of outstanding students in last year’s WASSCE examination from each local government councils to the United Kingdom for a leadership conference to motivate other students to also excel. These students will further receive scholarship for their tertiary education.
With the government so far investing N365million on instructional materials distributed to students in public primary school, N120 million on bursary, scholarship and grants to students of Ogun State origin, the foundational dividend of democracy is finally within the grasp of the people.
The Gateway State is on its way to effacing the rot in the education system and raising the bars high for other states in the country. There’s certainly a bright tomorrow for our “future leaders” to look forward to.
Source: Daily Post
Author: Ebunlomo Taiyese