Ogun State Governor, Sennator Ibikunle Amosun, on Monday disclosed that the state government would soon commence the free distribution of new textbooks for the primary and secondary schools in the State.
The Governor also said that he was alarmed by the inability of the public primary school pupils to speak in English language, declaring that such was unacceptable and would change.
It would be recalled that the State government made the free distribution of textbooks last in 2011, shortly after the administration was elected under the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
The Governor who spoke at the Education Summit 2017, organised by the State in Abeokuta, the State capital, said lack of funds had been largely responsible for the sustainability of the free books policy few years back.
He however, assured that the government would resume the free textbooks distribution in the State-owned public schools soon, hinting that the past exercise cost about N3billion.
Amosun said it was the responsibility of government to ensure that public schools are functional, “but for the paucity of funds. We are doing everything possible to change that you cannot imagine that even our pupils in primary schools cannot speak in English.”
The Governor who noted that the State was fast becoming the education capital of Nigeria with 1,495 Public Primary Schools, 2144 approved Private Nursery and Primary Schools with a combined population of 717,911 students in primary schools as well as 10 State owned tertiary institutions adding that his government have had to deal with huge financial responsibilities in the sector than any State of the federation.
Amosun said over 52 billion naira has been disbursed as subventions and grants to its 10 tertiary institutions across the State, just as he said that the State was putting up structures and funding materials to make education conducive for students as Human Capital Development of education staff was being addressed.
The Governor stated that his administration was committed to matching its huge investment in the education sector with better learning outcomes.
Amosun also disclosed that the last six years of his administration, education had consistently gotten the lion share of the State budget but expected that stakeholders would partner with government to justify the investment with positive results.
Delivering a paper, titled, “Baseline and Assessment”, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is’haq Oloyede disclosed that 90 percent of the candidates of JAMB are not qualified.
Oloyede explained that majority of the students are still awaiting their O’ level result, stressing that some of them used JAMB to test their abilities, adding that some Senior Secondary School two and three students also partook in the exams.
He said that elimination of corruption in the country would make the demand for white collar jobs less attractive.
Oloyede, who pointed accusing fingers at the public service system of the country, lamented that it was the corruption in the service that made the civil servants to get more than their monthly salaries.
He said that the present economic situation cannot sustain the public service workforce, affirming,”It is not sustainable especially when the campaign against corruption is on.
“It is not the 100,000 the Permanent Secretary takes home that make him the Permanent Secretary but the corruption associated with the office.
“As corruption is been eliminated, the truth of the matter is that white collar job will become less attracted and what make it attractive is because of the money there so therefore let us improve on skills. Skill acquisition should be considered as curriculum not as extra curriculum.”
On the summit, Oloyede said that there was need for Ogun state to setup it own Education Trust Fund, which to him, “will focus on assisting indigent students to fund their education and make their education affordable accordingly.
“There is need for Establishment of Tertiary Admission Monitoring Committee and I know of state like Kwara and such a committee in the Ministry of Education and their duty is to go to where their catchment is and ensure that their catchment quota is filled and they pursue it with vigor and they will tell them it is our right.
“They should also Setup Ethics group to monitor computer based centres. I was ashamed the greatest criminal was caught in Abeokuta to break into DBN JAMB”