The people of Ondo State are not happy about the state of education in the Sunshine State. According to them, the urgent need to fix the sector and bring it out its present woods by tackling the myriad of problems confronting education in the state should be one of the major priorites of the administration of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
Given the various challenges facing the sector, such as teachers’ unpaid accumulated salary, low teachers’ morale, inadequate facilities and dearth of infrastructure, low quality of tuition with attendant poor school results in external examinations, shortage of teachers, the new administration has a huge task to restore education back to its pride.
Piqued by the rot in the sector, the governor had expressed the determination of his administration to convene a summit on education, which according to him, would consequently address some of the challenges.
The governor, however, disclosed this while playing host to the management and members of the Governing Council of the state-owned Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Otunba Solomon Oladunni.
But, to the stakeholders, the governor should first consolidate on the achievements of the immediate past administration of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko in the critical areas of education development, especially building of more mega schools across the state, provision of facilities and infrastructure to enhance the performance of the students in external examinations, as well as injection of adequate funding into primary, secondary schools and the stateowned tertiary institutions rather than embarking on a fresh education summit.
But, to another section of the stakeholders, Akeredolu’s administration should chart a new course in improving the education standard in the state since what it met on ground was nothing to write home about. Hence, they canvassed a fresh education summit, where eggheads and key stakeholders in the sector would come together brainstorm on how to develop a new policy framework for education in the state.
Meanwhile, as part of moves to fix every sector of the state’ economy, Akeredolu prior to his inauguration inaugurated Strategic Development and Policy Implementation Committee (SDPIC) to develop a blue print for his administration. One of the sub-committees, which was on education and headed by former Managing Director Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Funso Kupolokun, was to develop a framework of activities for education development in the next four years.
While the public was awaiting the report of the committee, Akeredolu had announced plans by his administration to organise an education summit, which is aimed at tackling the myriad of problems facing education in the state.
However, Otunba Oladunni listed financial constraints as one of the critical problems confronting the university and other government-owned institutions in the state, saying: “Though, AAUA is a leading state university in the country, there are a number of challenges confronting the university, which include but not limited to finance and inadequate infrastructure.”
He, therefore, appealed to the governor to intervene in resolving these challenges so that the university could sustain the tempo of its developmental stride. Apart from AAUA, the stateowned Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH), Okitipupa, and the newly established University of Medical Sciences, (UNIMED) in Ondo by the administration of Mimiko, and the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in Owo deserved proper funding attention.
These notwithstanding, stakeholders have expressed worry whether the state would be able to fund and maintain the four tertiary institutions considering the dwindling resources from the federation account. This, according to the proponents of the education summit, should be the major focus of the discourse at the summit, which date is yet to be fixed by the state government.
On the way forward for the state’s education sector, stakeholders suggested the merger of the management of the institutions under one management and governing council, while other institutions should serve as schools and faculties.
For instance, the UNIMED could serve as School of Medical Sciences for the training of medical doctors under the management of AAUA, as well as OSUSTECH which would also serve as Faculty of Sciences under the same management.
Going by this suggestion, they expressed strong belief that the state government would have been able to conserve resources to maintain the institutions.