By: Olamide Adeniji
You would quite agree with me, that the Trumpet, a brass wind musical instrument sounded by lip vibration against a cup-shaped mouthpiece, makes a loud noise. Especially, if blown by a professional. There are also non-Western long instruments known as the Kakaki, an adaptation of the Western instrument, called trumpet. The Kakaki is associated with royalty and it is only played at the palace of the king. Kakaki is exclusively played by men and they make profound announcements of the arrival of a first-class Monarch. Just in case there is an ‘arobafin’ lurking somewhere around.
In this case, I am picking up the kakaki; assuming the role of a herald, who bids glad tidings to the good people of Oyo State on the achievements of Governor Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde in the Basic Education sector of the Pace-setting state.
Profound apologies that I chose to blow the trumpet of achievements recorded at the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board myself. I owe it, as a matter of duty to do so. This is pertinent at a moment, when the extreme financial paucity has hit every stratum of the economy and has let-down the populace.
The genuine delivery of free Basic Education in Oyo State, as witnessed by over 2,450 public primary schools is my subject. I do not intend to beautify the State Government, under Engr. Seyi Makinde as above board, but honestly, Governor Makinde has performed excellently, in the Basic Education sector. He deserves some accolades.
If the Governor Seyi Makinde liberal government were a soccer team, Dr. Nureni Aderemi Adeniran, the supervising head of the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board would be one of the “1st eleven players” or maybe a captain. This is so, because Dr. Nureni Adeniran has delivered so much within the last 11 months and few days he has spent in office. Suffice to say, Dr. Adeniran assumed office as the Executive Chairman of the Board, June 26, 2019. His tenure as the Chairman has recorded tremendous commendable achievements in the Board, ranging from construction of new projects, completion of abandoned projects, renovations, introduction of new policies in the sector and putting a human face to the administration of the Board.
Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board initially christened Oyo State Primary Education Board (SPEB) was established through Edict No 2 of 1994. The SPEB later metamorphosed into Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) with the enactment of Universal Basic Education Law which was passed in 2004 at the Federal level and replicated by the State in 2005.
No doubt, Oyo State has experienced the implementation of different educational systems with their attendant problems. In fact, the extent to which the Board achieves its objectives is largely dependent of the kind of leadership at the helms of affair and mostly the Governor who heads the State. At this juncture therefore, it is appropriate to give kudos to Engr. Seyi Makinde, who has largely left the supervision of OYOSUBEB in the capable hands of Nureni Adeniran, an Educationist per excellence and renowned Lawyer.
Hence, let us evaluate the Board, with pictorial evidences, while I leave you, my esteemed readers to judge. You will agree with me, that pictorial evidences are required to determine the true achievement or effectiveness of the new management and improvement Governor Makinde has brought on board. So that nay-sayers would either shut-up or join the winning train in Oyo State.
Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board’s activities have been trending on the pages of newspapers, blogs, online news and has been a major topic of discussions in the State’s polity.
The Board has successfully developed in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for Basic education and through its strategies and incessant strides, revived in them a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion; The provision of free Basic Education for every indigent pupil in the State.
This consciousness has reduced drastically the incidence of drop-out pupils from the formal school system, through an improved and efficient monitoring system. We all know that, from inception the Government of Engr. Seyi Makinde put a stop to any form of payment by pupils in the State.
After he assumed office, his first major assignment was to enforce strict compliance to the ‘no-payment’ policy. Therefore, Dr. Nureni Adeniran visited virtually all schools in the State, and sanctioned recalcitrant Head-Teachers, who took liberty in extorting innocent pupils in the State. After seeing the State Government’s seriousness with this, the extortion came to an abrupt end in the State. The State Government through the Board, catered for the learning needs of pupils in the State, who for one reason or another had to interrupt their schooling, through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of free basic education. The Government re-introduced Running Grants to the day-to-day running of schools in the State. The running grants have been a necessity to ensure a total end to the extortion of pupils and smooth execution of everyday activities.
Never in the history of SUBEB in Oyo State has there been an Executive Chairman, who doesn’t see himself as an arm-chair head, who sits in his office and just attends to files. As luring and tempting, these files could be, Dr. Adeniran sets out on a regular basis to ensure he pays unscheduled visits to Basic Schools in the State.
He ensures the acquisition of the appropriate level of literacy, numeracy and communicative skills are attained in these schools. Though the State Government is open to suggestions and ideas that would further build capacity of the teaching workforce in Oyo State, there is no gain-saying that the Board is pursuing an achievable dream.
Governor Seyi Makinde in 2019 intervened in the arrears being owed Basic school teachers, when he came on Board. He ensured that payment of arrears across all local governments universal basic education authorities owed to about 8,500 primary school teachers, by the previous administration are paid in earnest.
In a statement issued by Chief Press Secretary, the governor expressed disaffection over non-payment of the affected teachers and directed that they should be paid. Not just that, Governor Seyi Makinde ensured their salaries are paid concurrently with other civil servants.
Infrastructural Development has been a major achievement of this administration in the past one year. The rate at which Seyi Makinde’s administration committed resources to the development of abandoned projects, building new ones and renovation of others have been unbelievable. Over 125 FGN-UBEC/OYOSUBEB Intervention Projects have been completed, refurbished by the State Government. The categories range from Model schools with 12 classrooms, sick bays, Computer rooms, laboratories for science practical, libraries and halls. These fully furnished schools come with borehole. These buildings are strategically sited in different local governments, depending on the level of each local governments’ needs. Starting from Ibadan North West, Ido, Olorunsogo, Ona-Ara, Oyo West, and Ibadan South West.
The farther parts of the State are also not left behind in the distribution of these largesse. Itesiwaju, Atisbo, Kajola, Ibarapa, Ogbomosho North, Atiba are also testimonies to these unprecedented achievement in completion of schools.
Within June 2019 and March 2020, the situation reports put forward by the Planning Research and Statistics department of the Board, headed by the energetic Mrs. Abosede Owoeye proves that remote towns such as Ofiki, Ipapo, Ojimi-Ayinde, Igbeti, Iseyin, Oke-Alaro, among others received projects such as Model Schools, block of 3-classrooms and block of 4-classrooms.
So far, the Board can boast of over twenty-two Model schools, that are ready for commissioning. In addition to this, the Board started some projects last year which are ready for use in some parts of the state.
Recall that, Dr. Nureni Adeniran, after assumption of office, visited a Primary School at Bashorun, Ibadan, where a project had been abandoned for years. This, the contractor thought was a norm, that successive governments would erase legacies from their predecessors. Seyi Makinde did not follow this trend, rather through his lieutenant at the Board, gave an express instruction that all Contractors should return to site. Did you just say “wow”?!
Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration knows so well that Basic education shall be of 9 years duration, comprising 6 years of primary education and 3 years of junior secondary education. This is why the gesture was extended to Junior Secondary Schools in the State.
Recently, Oyo State Government through the Board, announced plans to reintroduce Open-day system in public primary schools across the State. This attracted commendations from stakeholders in the sector. Some even said the Board is just waking from its slumber. A slumber that had denigrated into a coma.
Executive Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Adeniran made the announcement during his State-wide interactive session with Head-teachers, in February. A meeting Dr. Nureni Adeniran promised would be done on quarterly basis, as a means of ensuring a seamless relationship with teachers.
In my opinion Open-day, when introduced will give parents opportunity to visit their children in schools, where they would get first-hand insights into their children’s performance and speak to their teachers on how to further improve those children. Adeniran said the reintroduced system would be an improved adaptation of the moribund open-day, noting that the system would make parents more responsible towards their children in public schools.
“We will reintroduce Open-day system back to our public schools, because we realized that this would complement Governor Seyi Makinde’s free education policy. Parents need to be responsible for their children’s progress in schools”, he was reported, to have said.
These are not mere promises; as this piece is being read, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has been notified on this lofty idea and the necessary steps have been taken to inculcate this in the curricula of Primary Schools. The Board has also introduced reading and writing as special periods in the Primary School curriculum in Oyo State. Introducing Reading and Writing as a period in Primary schools would improve pupils’ reading culture.
This is one of many beautiful ideas introduced by the present-day Government in Oyo State. Apart from this, Oyo State would employ more strategies as part of measures to complement its absolute commitment to improve the basic education sector.
Do you know that Oyo State Government, in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), selected 66 public primary schools from the three senatorial districts in Oyo State, who benefitted from UBEC School Based Management Committee-School Improvement Programme (SBMC-SIP)? This, the Government revealed is part of UBEC’s new strategy to involve communities in the management of schools.
If the action plans approved by the Commission are strictly adhered to and benefiting schools make judicious use of the funds disbursed to them to improve the standard of facilities used as wheels of education in the state, then we would see more edifices around us. The programme would increase enrolment, retention, completion and transition in the basic education sub sector, as well as help address out-of-school-children in the State. The Policy will strengthen partnership between our public schools and communities they are in. It would further improve these schools, and encourage community leaders around schools to be involved in the planning, management and maintenance of school properties.
At the wake of the novel COVID-19 scourge in the State, OYOSUBEB embarked on some preventive measures against the spread of Coronavirus. The Executive Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Adeniran distributed over One thousand, five hundred (1,500) hand sanitizers to staff members and guests at the board. The Board also sponsored production of posters, distributed to Media houses, Schools, Local Governments and strategic places.
The measure will help keep away coronavirus among staff members of the board. However, visitors, staff members and other stakeholders should adhere strictly to precautionary measures to safeguard themselves.
The Learning on air initiative embarked on by this administration, has helped pupils in keeping up with their studies. As a way of encouraging pupils, the Board put up a weekly challenge with an hashtag #oyosubeblearningonair challenge, which has witnessed tremendous support from different corners.
Chief among these, was a physically challenged man who supported the Board with over 15 customised bags. These bags have served the Board so well. They have been used to encourage pupils who win the Board’s weekly challenge, in addition to the cash gifts by the Chairman.
You would not agree less that Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board is leading the pack in delivering the agenda of the present day Government. But, these would amount to nothing if parents, guardians, teachers and other well-meaning stakeholders do not support the Government in the delivery of these great projects. Therefore, I implore everyone to put all hands-on deck, so that these State would make a resounding statement in the basic education sector.
Mr. Adeniji is the Media Officer of OyoSUBEB