Osogbo — Osun State Deputy Governor, Chief Titi Laoye-Tomori, has applauded what she described as Governor Rauf Aregbesola's revolution in the state ministry of education and public administration by appointing permanent secretaries in the ministry and by appointing three tutors-general to head the three decentralised education districts.
Laoye-Tomori, who made this known in Osogbo during the quarterly ministerial press conference of the state Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, said the move would provide an opportunity for self-actualisation and self-fulfilment, which would ultimately raise the standard of education in the state.
She said the government also strengthened the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) by appointing a permanent secretary to head it, unlike in the past when it was led by an executive secretary. She added that the government also created the Teachers' Establishment and Pension Office (TEPO) to process retirement benefits of post-primary school teachers in the state; issue uniform guidelines to the three education districts on appointment, promotion, discipline and other establishment matters; prepare and coordinate promotion eligibility list for teachers in all education districts so as to ensure uniformity of standard.
The deputy governor also explained that SUBEB is responsible for the supervision of 1,378 public primary schools, with a total enrolment of 357,533 pupils and 12,188 teaching staff, adding that the government has paid N36 million for the second term examination fees of all public primary school students.
She said the state has also commenced the recruitment of 3,230 primary school teachers.
She also revealed that Osun is the only state, out of the 13 original pilot states that is still implementing the school feeding programme, saying that the government undertook a comprehensive review of the inherited school feeding arrangement and came up with a totally overhauled and rebranded programme known as 'O-Meals'.
"The objectives of the O-Meals programme are to increase enrolment and retention of public in schools; improve nutritional and health status of pupils, as well as to reduce poverty and stimulate the development of small and medium scale enterprises."
She said the programme had a positive impact on school enrolment with an addition of 38,000 pupils, representing 25 per cent increment, pointing out that a total of 194,253 pupils in primary one to three have benefitted from the programme in the last two terms. The deputy governor announced plans to extend the feeding programme to pupils in primary four.
On the issue of school uniforms, she said the government plans to create a unique identity for all students in public schools and promote Yoruba culture, adding that the innovation would ensure uniformity and engender a sense of belonging. She promised that the customised school uniforms would be distributed free of charge during the 2012/2013 academic session.
Laoye-Tomori also dismissed as unfounded, the alleged islamization of schools through the introduction of new school uniforms.