At last, Ondo State Government has indicated its intention to hand over one of the foremost secondary schools in the state, Aquinas College, Akure to its mission owner, the Catholic Church in fulfillment of the policy to return some schools to missionaries, who were their original owners.
The National President of Aquinas College, Akure Old Students Association (ACAOSA), Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi, who disclosed this during the inauguration of a sports pavilion and a clinic at the college.
He said that the formal handing over of the school would be performed after the documents to that effect are perfected and signed by both the government and the church.
The multi-million sports pavilion and clinic were some of the projects embarked upon by the old students of the college in commemoration of the college’s 70th anniversary.
The Aquinas College, Akure was established by the Catholic Church in 1951. According to Justice Olateru- Olagbegi, the Catholic Church and the old students were delighted over plans by the state government to hand over the college to the original owners as that would go a long way in enhancing the quality of education of the students.
The Justice noted that the standard and quality of education would be enhanced in the country if public schools taken over or established by missionaries were returned to them.
While addressing the old students at the ceremony, Justice Olateru- Olagbegi further disclosed that the state Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had made positive policy announcement on returning of the college to the Roman Catholic Church, the original owners of the school before it was taken over by the military government in 1976.
He, therefore, lauded the governor for the positive and courageous policy and appealed to the governor to, as a matter of urgency, put in motion the final arrangements that would guarantee the smooth take-over of the college by the missionaries to actualise his administration’s courageous policy.
The Jurist reiterated that as the population of students increased, there was no reciprocal increase in the number of teachers and infrastructural facilities in public schools due to neglect and paucity of funds on the part of government.
He added that the mentorship and boarding school process, which shaped the lives of students, had been eroded with the forceful take-over of the missionary schools by the government.
Justice Olateru-Olagbegi, however, said that the Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Jude Arogundade had assured the old students that no student would be forced out of school because he could on account of inability to pay school fees.