This Day (Lagos)

19 August 2008

Nigeria: Oyo Launches Adopt-a-School Project

Ibadan — Oyo State government has launched the 'Adopt-a-School' and Identification Card projects as part of a long term effort to re-invigorate primary education in the state.

Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Soji Adejumo said the aim was to compliment the effort of the state governor, since "government alone cannot provide everything needed for the smooth running of the education sector." It will also ensure the provision of qualitative and quantitative education in all primary schools in the state.

Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala said at the launching that the policy was one of the major decisions taken by the National Council on Education (NCE), some years ago, which he said, was an invitation to philanthropists, the private sector, development partners, donors and civil societies to partner with the government in the provision of basic infrastructure to create conducive environment for the children to learn.

The governor disclosed that between December 2007 and April 2008, the state had spent about N482 million as its counterpart fund for the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)/State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) projects for construction/renovation of classroom buildings, purchase of instructional materials and pupils' furniture.

He called on philanthropists and wealthy individuals in the state, Non-Governmental Organisations, religious groups, corporate bodies and all other stakeholders in education to cooperate with SUBEB to make the projects succeed, as the infrastructures in the primary schools are not satisfactory despite the millions of naira sunk into them.

He said government conceived the idea of issuing ID cards to all the pupils in public and private schools, based on the appreciation that the funding and financing of education in the state is a collective responsibilities of all citizen.

Chairman of the occasion, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) said teachers, as builders of the nation, deserved to be well remunerated to enable them impart qualitative education to the pupils. He described the teaching profession as one of the best professions in the world, saying teachers must be people who are interested in the profession and must be ready to teach at any time.

He also charged rich individuals and corporate organisations to contribute to the laudable projects no matter how small, adding that no country can survive educationally, without the participation of the private sector. "The government can not do it alone. When you contribute to good things, God will replenish your pocket for doing so as life is all about give and take", he said. He promised to adopt a school in the state and merge it with his proposed Babalola Model University.

Adejumo said in the last one year, "the Akala-led administration has consistently and graciously provided school furniture, toilet facilities, instructional materials, textbooks, exercise books and as well as the training of teachers running into hundreds of millions of naira."

These achievements and the need to retain them, he said informed the decision of the education board to put the Adopt- a- school programme in place, since government alone cannot do it all.

On some of the achievements of the Board in the provision of infrastructure, Adejumo said the Board had just installed a V-SAT-C band equipment so that it can retrieve information on every pupil, teacher and staff within a short time. The facility also gives room for speedy access to on-line journals, publications and research materials.

He added that a substantial amount of money had been invested into infrastructural development in no fewer than 2,000 public primary schools in the state, adding that in the last one year, the Board has also constructed over 304 classrooms in 104 schools located in the three senatorial districts of the state.

"We have equally provided over 15, 000 desks and benches, Teachers' Table and Chairs, head teachers' table and chairs for pupils in addition to the provisions of toilets, textbooks and training of over 11, 000 out of 27,000 teachers employed by the board." he added.

"Oyo SUBEB intends to take the bull by the horn by addressing the critical needs for social mobilisation for educational development by launching a SUBEB and private sector consortium to create a sustainable platform for the delivery of qualitative basic education to the people of the state", he said.

According to him, the board has compiled a comprehensive list of all the schools in the state requiring this partnership programme and the private sector comprising the banking and financial sector, manufacturing industries, civil societies, NGOs and other establishment are to be invited into the adopt- a- school project, later in the month.

Chairman of the Adopt-a-School programme committee and Permanent Member 1 of Oyo SUBEB, Olawunmi Oladeji, appealed to well-meaning members of the public and philanthropists to rise up to the clarion call.

According to her, "our people should look backward and make life better and meaningful for our pupils who are the future of this state. They should note that whatever they invest, would naturally be rewarded by the good Lord, because any good thing done will never go unnoticed at the appropriate time."

She said further that "no assistance is too big or small. Their names will be engraved on any project done by them. It could be fencing of the school compound, building of toilets, sinking of deep wells or boreholes, renovation of classrooms or construction of new ones."

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