Education is the bedrock of development and any nation toying with her education sector is putting her future into jeopardy as no nation has grown beyond the level of education of her citizens.
A foremost African, late Nelson Mandela succinctly posited: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The major difference between the “third world” countries and the developed nations is the level of priority placed on education.
A citizenry not educated is already confined to the penury of servitude and slavery. This is the reason nations like ours cannot continue to pay lip service to education if we want to live and not just exist.
The fulcrum of education is human capital development. Human capital development, according to economists, is a very important factor of production as it holds the key to the economic transformation of any organization or nation, and what that entails basically is correct education.
Our education sector cannot continue to play very low in the League of Nations if our desire to transform to a technology- driven and industrialized nation does not go beyond a mantra.
The reason we must address our curricula to meet up with the realities of the challenges of 21st century. In the earliest possible time, agenda must be mapped out to revamp our various educational institutions across board and tailor them along a path relevant to the requisite tools for economic transformation, industrialization as well as information and communication technology.
That we should adequately fund our education sector is a paramount consideration in the project of nation building and that remains a capital intensive venture.
A qualitative and functional education doesn’t come cheap, a reason the United Nations’ Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommended that nothing less than 26% of budgetary allocation on a yearly basis must be committed to the education sector to help fast track its development and position it as a tool of economic development and transformation.
Our various laboratories must be equipped with state-of-the-art tools across board amongst other materials that can aid mastery of technology while our students and their lecturers must be made to study in environment conducive for learning.
The lecturers too must be trained and retrained in the deployment of modern tools needed to impart knowledge to the students. Our various schools must also be adequately staffed. There is a school of thought which says; the ratio of teacher to student must be at most 1-50 for effective monitoring and impartation.
If that is to be achieved, it follows that, provisions must be made especially in courses where the number of enrol- ment exceeds, so that, the work can go smoothly.
It is in the cardinal appreciation of this indisputable, that the Ekiti State Government under the leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi recruited aggressively into the teaching line in 2020 for all the public schools in Ekiti State Hinged on the above, Fayemi also in his pragmatic affinity made students and teachers the critical consideration in setting the agenda for quality education.
At the inception of his administration, an organized survey was carried out to investigate school and teacher effectiveness issues in Ekiti. The findings from the study thus showed among others, that, teachers possessed adequate qualifications, but their teaching was not effective.
Fayemi noted that there should be a significant relationship between teacher effectiveness and school effectiveness, and the result of multiple regression analyses indicated that independent variables like teacher’s classroom management skills and qualifications made significant positive contributions to teacher effectiveness.
This suggestive excursion triggered a scientific monitoring and implementation of Fayemi’s education policy believing that serial and genuine implementation of policy is as important as its formulation.
Fayemi ensured that the inspectorate division of the ministry of education takes seriously the monitoring of what goes on in our classrooms of learning and its environs.
In the abiding passionate quest of promoting and encouraging academic excellence in Ekiti State, Dr. Fayemi initiated and granted merit-based bursary and scholarships to undergraduates, physically-challenged undergraduates, master’s degree and doctoral degree students of Ekiti State origin studying in various higher institutions in the country as well as law students.
In terms of critical infrastructure in the education sector, Dr. Fayemi has continued with construction of new schools as well as renovation of old ones. He has demonstrated an unflagging commitment to the vision of leaving no school building untouched in the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti State (ORASE) programme he introduced through the ministry of education and technology.
In addition to the brick and mortar interventions, the Government of Ekiti State supplied instructional materials to all public schools and ensured constant payment of running grants to all primary, secondary, and technical schools in the Ekiti State. Free and compulsory education programme which was introduced by Fayemi at the inception of his administration are being sustained by the administration.
•Soyombo, a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Fayemi on Students’ Matters, writes from Ado-Ekiti