15 June 2013

Nigeria: The Day of the 'Tablet of Knowledge' in Osun

Osogbo — Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Monday, recorded another first with the launch of the much awaited innovative e-learning device tagged Opon Imo, tablet of knowledge, amidst showers of praises for the ingenuity of the Aregbesola-led administration as the state government is expected to save N8.4 billion from the purchase of text books for senior secondary public schools in the state.

It was the creme-de la- creme in Nigeria that unveiled the device at the Zainabab Half Moon Resort, Ilesa. Dignitaries who graced the occasion include former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Aminu Tambuwal; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; a former FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir el- Rufai; retired General Alani Akinrinade; Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; and Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Aromolaran.

In his address, Aregbesola said Africans would no longer accept the tag of a continent without hope or future, insisting that with the launch of Opon Imo, Nigeria and indeed the entire black continent has sent a signal of its arrival on the world stage of development.

In the speech entitled: "Opon-Imo Enters the Stage," the governor said there could be little argument that Opon-Imo is a veritable tablet of knowledge that levels the learning playing field for all students from different social backgrounds.

He added that the tablet will allow students to learn at their own pace, wherever and whenever they choose, saying that it provides robust and uniform learning content for them, offering a feedback mechanism for monitoring of their performance.

According to him, "this little device will greatly facilitate our free education policy by saving the state a lot of money that would have had to go into procuring text books on annual basis. Indeed, the saving is humongous.

"Were the state to engage in the physical purchase of hard-copies of textbooks for the 17 subjects taught in our public schools, hard-copies of 51 audio tutorials, hard-copies of JAMB and WAEC past questions and answers for all subjects for a period of 10 years, it would cost a whopping sum of N50.25billion.Very much like other such computer devices, Opon-Imo contains both hardware and software components," Aregbesola said. The governor pointed out that the tablet provides three major content categories viz: e-library, virtual classroom, and an integrated test zone.

"The virtual classroom category contains 63 e-books covering 17 academic subjects for examinations conducted by WAEC, NECO and JAMB as well as non-academic life-enriching subjects such as History of The Yoruba, Sexuality Education, Civic Education, Ifa on ethics and morals, enterprise education, hints and tips on passing SSCE and 'How to live a Healthy and Happy life'."

He also noted that, in the integrated test zone of the device, there are more than 40,000 JAMB and WAEC practice questions and answers dating back to about 20 years, adding that the tablet also contains mock tests in more than 51 subject areas, which approximates to 1,220 chapters, with roughly 29,000 questions referencing about 825 images. Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, in his goodwill message, described the Opon Imo as a grand-breaking initiative worthy of emulation.

Soyinka said with this new e-learning device, students in Osun have all the reasons to be proud and celebrate the digitalisation era the government has just exposed them to. The UNESCO Director General, who was represented by the Country Director, Professor Hassana Alidou, said the world education and cultural organisation is ready to partner with any government like Osun, which puts education on the front burner.

He said UNESCO is ready to assist Osun in the area of improving the quality of teachers through developing a regional education programme.

In his good will message, the National Leader of Action Congress of Nigeria, Senator Bola Tinubu, said: "Let the bookmakers take note, let the so-called experts learn from the ordinary people and let the historians write that history is being made in Osun this very day. The power of knowledge and e-learning are the resultant benefits that now wait at the fingertips of our children. This was not the result of a gift from a stranger or from accident.

This fine development is the harvest of innovation, hard work and the commitment to public education and enlightenment of our children by the governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his excellent team. On behalf of the children and their parents, I thank the governor for opening this important portal of knowledge to our youngest ones".

He added: "By investing in this modern tool of knowledge and adapting it to local needs so that our children may more easily benefit, Governor Aregbesola and his administration have improved our educational resources by a bold quantum leap. Things that once were outside the grasp of our system to teach or learn are now in the hands of both teachers and students.

Knowledge we would have struggled for months or years to acquire is now available in minutes and seconds. What the governor has done is revolutionary and beneficial. It is a symbol of the positive benefits of progressive governance commitment to the welfare of the people and to the future of our children.

"The governor did not do this to attract accolades. He did this because it was the right thing to do. He did this not for himself but for posterity. In so doing, he and his team have acted boldly to secure both the present and future educational well-being of the children of Osun".

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