A former Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola has called on governments at all levels to be committed to the basic education of children.
Aregbesola, who is also the immediate past Minister for Interior, noted that during his tenure as the governor of Osun, he carried out various foundation education programmes which had been bearing fruits for the state but regretted that those programmes were stopped by his successor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola.
The All Progressives Congress chieftain stated this on Saturday, in Akure, during a ‘welcome home’ reception organised for him by members of the old students of the Akoko Anglican Grammar School, Arigidi Akoko, Ondo State, of which he is a member.
The former governor also said the commitment of his administration then, was from the grounds that there was no alternative to a sound public foundation education.
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”
He hailed all his teachers, principals, and the ex-students of the school describing them as stars who deserved greater celebrations.
In her remarks, the National President of the AKOGRAMS, Mrs. Moji Ajayi, commended the minister for contributing to the development of the country and the association. She said the old students had carried out various infrastructural projects in their alma mater.