Roll back to the swearing in of Engr seyi Makinde on the 29th May 2019 where he told the good people of Oyo State that there will be no more NGN3000.00 fees paid in State secondary schools. He also said that it was unacceptable that Oyo state stood at No. 26 among the 36 States of the federation in terms of the overall national WAEC results. As a new governor he promised to move Oyo State to top ten in the national WAEC standing. To be fair to Governor Seyi Makinde, his first commissioner of education was a Professor of Statistics from Botswana and the current one is a lawyer. Books were bought for the students, after school classes were organised state-wide, some form of teacher training was organised and to top it all the budgetary allocation for education was increased drastically.
Unfortunately, all these failed to have any effect on the WAEC results till date, in fact Oyo State has come out worse off. The main issue is that we have a governor that appears to throw money at a problem without strategic thinking and planning. The intention was honourable however, when you have the wrong personnel or ill-equipped personnel, and you invest in the wrong areas the outcome will be extremely poor no matter the amount of money spent. Some of the key achievements of the administration are that they built so many classrooms, employed thousands of teachers and ensured the return of thousands of out of school children to the classroom to mention a few. Looking at these on the surface, one will praise the Makinde led government. However, a closer look will show that these are cosmetic actions used to gloss over the deep decay of the Oyo State Educational system.
Going back to the promise of moving Oyo state from 26th position in the national WAEC result ranking to 10th position, this is possible if properly planned over a set period. However, the governor set an unrealistic target of achieving this in his first year in office forgetting that educational achievement can be likened to the construction of a building in engineering. To have a solid building, the foundation is key. A solid foundation that is properly designed and thought through can hold a skyscraper. This is also true in education. The foundation is the nursery and primary school, the pillars and decking are the secondary while the roof is the university. The governor and the ministry of education in Oyo State is expecting students sitting WAEC to produce at a higher level even though the educational facilities within the state are basic at best or non-existent in many places. The State has planted cheap products but expect to harvest expensive products. This is impossible, and the high level of expectation may be linked to why some schools resorted to exam malpractices which has resulted in WAEC delisting over 50 secondary schools in Oyo State. As reported, the Oyo State government plans to sanction the schools involved, before the State government can sanction the schools, the government must show concrete evidence of the facilities provided to these schools. Do these schools have up to date science laboratories, can the governor, his commissioners and appointees place their children in these schools? If the answer to this question is negative, then the governor and his appointees should cover their faces in shame and share the blame. The current administration has had over 3 years to sort out the primary and secondary educational system in the state, but it is obvious they have failed.
Thousands of teachers were employed according to the information put out by the administration, but no one knows what level of induction was given to these new teachers. There are several individuals in and around this administration that have international educational experience either as students or teachers, yet this has not reflected in the processes in the educational system. One will wonder how these new teachers were employed.
Who interviewed them? Who vetted them? What probational period do they have? Who inspects their work? Does Oyo State have a standardised primary and secondary education system that cuts across the State?
What can be done ?
– Standardise the State educational system – there must be a State Model used in all schools in Oyo State.
– Develop an up-to-date teacher training pack that is linked with the Oyo State Model which must be included in the Teacher training curriculum. This must be taught in all colleges of education and departments of education in Oyo State.
– Develop a continuous professional development system specifically tailored to improvement of teaching within State schools, this should have a point system linked to staff appraisal and promotion.
– Create the Oyo State Teachers register for vetting and to monitor training and development.
The above are just a few of the processes required to bring the Oyo State education system into the 21st century. In the higher education sector, the Oyo State government has to decide what it wants to focus on. For example, the College of Agriculture and Technology Igbo-Ora should be upgraded to include an agribusiness training centre where all the latest agricultural innovations are available to practicing farmers and would be farmers. Tractors and all farming machinery must be available in college so people can learn safe use of agricultural equipment there.
Oyo state must not send anymore youths to Nasarawa state, remember Oyo State lead and others follow.