Enhancing Education Standard in Ogun State

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Ayodeji Ake reports that after last weekend’s inauguration of a N50 million worth of STEM 3D science laboratory, donated by Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Ijebu Muslim College, Ogun State, education in the state is expected to take a new shape

The seven- decade-old education institute, Ijebu Muslim College, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State on February 1, 2020, received dignitaries from all spheres of life, including the Ijebu Muslim College Old Students Association (IMCOSA), who graced the lauded twin celebration of the school. The 70th anniversary week-long celebration ended with a grand finale and inauguration of a laboratory by the Governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun.

Welcoming members and other dignitaries, the National President, IMCOSA, Kayode Sote, expressed delight at the level of support of the old students towards the development of the school and improvement of its education system.
He stressed the need for teachers’ capacity building to improve the standard of teaching in the state, as he admitted that knowledge will shape all sectors of the country towards development.

“The new global order is knowledge economy and any country that is not knowledge- driven or unwilling to join the bandwagon risks being left behind with adverse consequences for her economy and people. Nigeria must add value to her natural resources through the application of knowledge because market for such free endowment may shrink, business may collapse, but her citizens must not perish because of lack of knowledge and will-power of the government to promote knowledge revolution in all its ramifications.

“The need to review the curricula and strengthen the teaching techniques of teachers in primary schools so as to expose the pupils to modern teaching facility and prepare them for secondary education is sacrosanct. There is also need to encourage train-the-trainers concept for secondary school teachers as part of human capital development and capacity building while at the same time exposing them to modern techniques of teaching especially in the area of ICT programmes on regular basis.”
He also emphasised the need to embrace entrepreneurship education to complement the government’s policy on education in order to lay emphasis on talents and natural endowment of students as a way of promoting self-employment rather than the elusive white collar jobs.

“There is need to encourage vocational education with functional equipment so as to expose the students to carpentry in order to repair some school items like broken windows, doors tables and chairs and also embrace other courses like welding, domestic science, among others. It is obvious that education is the bedrock of a nation’s developmental strategy the world over and in consonance with the global truism of the concept, Ogun State Government should package its own version.

“However, the commissioning of this first class facility is the climax of the various activities packaged to celebrate the 70th founders’ day of the college. We are happy for the honour of your distinguished presence despite your tight schedules to sustain the legacy of Ogun State as the intellectual capital of Nigeria and preferred investment destination as the economic hub of the nation,” he said

On the school’s infrastructure, the president also restated commitment and devotion to the development of the institution, while calling for relevant assistance from the government, as well as the reintroduction of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) levy.
“IMCOSA as a proactive association shall continue to support the effort of the government in the provision and sustenance of infrastructure to meet the challenges of inadequate funding of secondary schools. However, the greatest challenge is the limited resources of the association to maintain the existing structures especially in the provision of classroom furniture, tables, chairs, teaching aids, ICT maintenance.

“We therefore, solicit the support of the governor to allow IMCOSA run the Old Assembly Hall and the ongoing new Assembly Hall nearing completion in order to generate revenue for their maintenance. Also, the government should reintroduce the PTA levy of Nl,900 to assist the college in meeting some auxiliary expenses like payment of PTA teachers, security guards, maintenance of school bus, computers, transportation of students to honour inter-college invitations for sports, literary and debate and quiz competitions, prize-giving days, among others,” he added.

In his remarks, the governor applauded the association on the school’s 70th anniversary, as well as the Chief Executive Officer, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr. Abdulrasaq Isa, an old student, for donating a science laboratory to the school.
He said: “This is no doubt a big celebration; this event goes beyond physical building that represents the school or the additional structure. The event is a validation that is building the future together, a mantra of administration and an inclusive development of any society.

“Allow me say that the celebration of today and many successes associated to Ijebu Muslim School, are contributed by committed individuals who value the importance of western education and are determined to expand access to it for Muslim children and the fore fronts who put resources together to establish this school. Their efforts yielded some desired results when they started the school in a rented apartment. The founders of the school were with sharp focus for excellence and were broad minded enough in the pursuit of their vision.

“I must say that in developing the society, everyone has a role to play. The founders of this institution rather than lamenting, saw the need to work hand-in-hand for speed development. Ijebu-Ode Muslim College has produced great people in the society who are worthy ambassadors and are doing well in different spheres of life.
“Let me therefore commend the efforts of the old students of this school for the initiative and contribution to the development of their origin. I must say that I have not seen such committed and dedicated set of old students of any institution. This has demonstrated that our public-private partnership is already yielding positive results.

“I appreciate all these collaborations because this will aid the structure of the organisation. I therefore call for more support and collaboration and prayers. I will enjoin the old students of the school and other schools that have been doing this not to relent on such contributions to their various origins. We must all realise that for everything we do it is a contribution for better Ogun State and building a solid foundation for generation yet unborn.
The governor added: “We want the school to make the best use of the facilities and draw inspirations from the array of distinguished frontrunners, and have it in mind to give back to their origin.

He promised that the state government will participate in developmental projects in the school. “We have listened to the complains of the institutions, I have addressed the members of the agencies to look into the issue of encroachment and erosion without further delay. To encourage the old student of the school, the state government will be contributing a dining hall for the students. This is not the only contribution that we will make towards the development of this prestigious institution, but just one of the many,” he said.

The Laboratory Consultant, General Manager Operations, Katchey, Sam Nwogu, while giving a breakdown of the laboratory facility, confirmed that the donated science laboratory is one of its kind in Nigeria that will catapult the education system to the sky.

“Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is a new trend in science and it has not really been deployed in Nigeria. It is a way of teaching science in junior secondary schools. In the western world, STEM is seen as a course on its own. As a new trend coming up in science, and we asked Waltersmith to do something that is innovative and worth doing well and bring forth science into this institution.

“Basically, we are looking at how to teach students how to analyse and interprete data faster instead of spending time acquiring numbers, conducting experiment that will take almost forever. But here it will allow the technology get the data for you while the students sit and interprete. With this, teaching of science becomes for much easier.

“Back then in school, teaching friction is a topic on its own but with this innovation, I can teach friction to a five-year-old baby and he will understand it. This covers different modules that you can think of in secondary school. We selected the basic experiments that they can get started with. I am sure by the time the ministry of education will be done with the review of present curriculum which is almost obsolete, they will come up with newer curriculum with this idea inclusive. If this school can have a facility like this, it means they are a step ahead,” he said.