By Yinka Kolawole
Education maintains a primacy in every society and has a direct and intrinsic role for development.
This is because it affords the people a chance to live a better life. Just like every other sector, certain policies guide the educational operations in every nation-state in the world and the quality of these policies coupled with long term development visions of the policy makers determine the effectiveness of the education sector.
Meanwhile, change remains the only constant phenomenon in life and it occurs across all facets of life and activities. It is not new today that policies guiding the activities and operations of governmental and private institutions are often reviewed from time to time.
This periodic review and reforms are often informed by certain reasons in an overall attempt to improve institutional functionality. Reforms usually refer to a major change which involves attempts to upgrade and improve systemic performances with an eye on future sustainability.
Based on these, education remains the catalyst for sustainable societal development if its guiding policies are given a cyclic review at close intervals.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola within two years of his administration has made education sector a force to reckon with while it has been his major priority to improve quality of education in the state.
As a democratic leader which started on the principle of inclusiveness and people – centredness, Governor Oyetola who went on a statewide thank you tour was inundated by the good people of the state to look into some education policies which were formulated by the former administration.
The demand became popular as all critical stakeholders such as educationists, teachers and parents, demanded a review for a better efficacy in the education sector. The governor noted the peoples yearnings and promised a corresponding government action which would look into them.
Immediately he assumed office, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, set up a panel led by a cerebral educationist, Professor Olu Aina to review the education policies acting in tandem with the popular demands of the people. It is the conviction of the governor that the clamour for change by renowned educationists, school administrators, missionaries and school owners was a strong precursor to the need to review the extant policies in the state education sector.
It is noteworthy that the review committee headed by Professor Olu-Aina appraised the policy and came up with resolutions which formed the recommendations made to the government.
They recommended that Opon Imo should be retained after improving on its seeming lapses, noting that it is imperative to make provisions for the teachers as well as involve parents and other stakeholders to make sure it is not only available but effective.
By retaining Opon Imo which received UN-World Summit Award for innovation and the endorsement of UNESCO and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the Oyetola administration has demonstrated that its review of the past administrations education policies was done with a sense of responsibility.
Other recommendations of the panel were considered by the government as in line with Oyetola’s integral action plan coupled with the demands of the people of the state of Osun. Governor Adegboyega Oyetola changed 4-5-3-4 classification system to the originally designed 6-3-3-4 in line with the national policy on education. Single uniform system, old single sex schools, among others, was restored in the state according to the recommendation of the committee.
In March 2020, the Governor Oyetola administration adopted the report of the review committee and made necessary modifications to the education policy according to the tone of the people. The administration took this bold step towards implementing these changes as the schools resumed in the post pandemic period because of the disposition of the governor to making governance revolve around the masses.
The change of the single uniform policy, a policy which received accolades from all and sundry, was also second to none. It precipitated for a commercial boost which brought textile and fashion industries to live.
The business moguls in the industries could not hold their joy but to lavish their praises on Oyetola for his action in the right direction.
Based on the foregoing, it is commendable that the Oyetolas administration initiated the review based on popular revolt.
It demonstrates the importance of a government that listens. Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has shown a quality of a good leader which must be responsive to peoples demands, a legacy that formed the basis of the resolve of the government to reposition the education system.
Apart from policy review which has stabilized the education system in the state, Oyetolas administration has gone further to perform some value-driven programmes and projects in the education sector within his two years in office.
The teachers across the state were adequately trained on quality assurance which is the driving force of standard education while necessary equipment such as tablets were distributed to the 31 Heads of Session for the routine monitoring. Building on the human resources in the state teaching service, Oyetolas administration has collaborated with the Federal Government to employ 100 qualified teachers under the framework of Federal Teachers Scheme (FTS), while the recruitment of thousands of teachers by the sole responsibility of the state government under Governor Adegboyega Oyetola is underway.
In a bid to improve the education infrastructure, the state government has awarded a number of contracts for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of several blocks of four classrooms at different communities in the state. Equally, 1,000 units of pupils furniture and 500 units of students’ furniture have also been constructed and distributed to some schools that were in dire need of it.
It is crystal clear that Governor Adegboyega Oyetola whose administration has been regarded as God-sent, has re-engineered and overhauled the education sector in a shape that was widely accepted by all the critical stakeholders in the state.
To cap it all, the silent achiever has once again proven to the world that the adage that says empty barrel makes the loudest noise was actually true. Governor Oyetola who has been regarded as an epitome of democracy and his doggedness to make the education policy work in Osun cannot be overemphasised.