Former Governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has emphasized the crucial role of governments at all levels in prioritizing the education of children.
Aregbesola, who previously served as the Minister for Interior, highlighted the successful foundation education programs implemented during his tenure as governor of Osun State.
However, he expressed disappointment that these programs were discontinued by his successor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola.
Speaking at a reception organized by members of the Akoko Anglican Grammar School, Arigidi Akoko, Ondo State, where he is an alumni, the All Progressives Congress chieftain emphasized the significance of a solid public foundation education.
He noted that his administration was fully committed to this cause, recognizing that there is no viable alternative to ensuring children receive a quality education from the outset.
He said, “All governments must know that no matter how attractive private schools may be, they will never be able to displace government-funded public foundation education schools if we really want to provide education to all the children and stimulate development from the bottom up. It is a dream we must never give up on.
“When I became governor in Osun, I sought to replicate this idea. Our administration built 11 state-of-the-art 3,000-capacity model secondary schools, in addition to rehabilitating and upgrading the existing ones. Each school has 72 classrooms which can comfortably accommodate 49 students and six rooms for study groups. It is equipped with six laboratories, 36 toilets separated equally for boys and girls, two libraries for science and arts each, a facility manager’s office, a bookshop, and a sick bay.
“We introduced ‘Opon Imo’ (the tablet of knowledge), a digital education tool, ethics and discipline in public schools, and even established a state-wide agency on public school discipline. We introduced calisthenics and school feeding and health programme.
“The first one we put into use was Wole Soyinka Government High School in Ejigbo, in 2015. By the time we left in 2018, 11 were fully operational. With each school graduating 1,000 students every year and a combined output of 11,000, we should have not less than 44,000 world beaters now, if the programme had been sustained.
These schools were designed to produce world beaters and the fruits were already coming out.
“A student from our school topped the Senior Secondary School Examination while another topped JAMB examination shortly after we left. But our successor regrettably couldn’t continue with the tempo”