By Adeniyi Akinbobola
As Nigerian prepares towards the world Education Day celebration on the 24th of January, 2020, the soaring fortune of one of Nigeria’s frontline and foremost colleges of education- the Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu, Ijebu-Ode, will no doubt, remain a subject of discourse as the institution has in the recent days, witnessed massive innovation cutting across academics, infrastructure, welfare, staff motivation and many other stabilities which hitherto, was a tall dream. Of course, a majority of these development is occasioned by the renewed drive the Ogun State Governor, Prince Adedapo Abiodun, brings in the pack, ensuring that the institution is not rendered latent and thrown into the dust bin of history as some of its peers.
It will be recalled that on assumption of Office on May 29 2019, after a robust evaluation of how the education sector had fared in times past, bemoaned the retrogressive state of the education sector in the state thus asserted that, “the state of Education in the State is worrisome. We have been regaled with stories of unpaid salaries, poor funding, unremitted deductions, moribund projects, controversial campus relocations, hasty appointments, strikes etc. Confidence has been eroded, unless we act quickly, education which is already in serious trouble will get worse. We cannot afford to have our education, which should be the bedrock of all our development activities, our topmost industry in such a state”.
Recall again that the state’s helmsman posited during his inauguration that “Ogun State education system requires an urgent, comprehensive and disruptive approach akin to the declaration of a State of Emergency. Consequently, we will convene an Education Stakeholders Summit that will bring all experts and relevant stakeholders to discuss and proffer solutions to the deplorable state of education in the State from Early Child Education (ECE), to Primary, Secondary, Tertiary as well as Technical and vocational training schools. Visitation panels will be set up to select tertiary institutions for fact-finding missions and to proffer practical solutions to the lingering problems experienced in many of these institutions.
Of a truth, the governor’s submissions have also been corroborated by not a few scholars and relevant stakeholders in the educational sector and to a very large extent, the TASCE, as one of the higher institutions in the state had its own fare share of the then inglorious and fast fading glory of the educational standard in the Gateway State. Of course, to match his talk with performance, the state’s governor has since then, taken giant strides aimed at repositioning the noble college of education for greater heights.
TASCE achieved a major academic feat when the institution got all its 25 academic programmes accredited less than one year of the injection of firm policies. This had been a herculean task for the school all thanks to the many innovation of the current administration cascading into renewed motivation of lecturers and their non-academic staffers. This audacious step also led to the upgrade of the college to a degree awarding status, in affiliation with the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye in 2018 and another Degree affiliation with the University of Ibadan. This has restored confidence and a high sense of belonging and makes grandaunts from the school more acceptable in the labour market.
Academic linkage with University of Education, Winneba, Ghana on students’ /Staff exchange programme, Joint research that has eroded the institution and has been the desire and yearnings of many of such institutions in Nigeria was made possible by the governor’s intervention in the college. Conducted the First Combined Convocation Ceremonies of the college with over 7500 graduands heaving huge sigh of relieve with endless smiles on their faces with different “Thank God” message and similarly held the First College Public Lecture. The commencement of College Inaugural Lecture is also a major feat.
The construction of School of Science Complex with state of Arts science equipment, facilitation of the construction of 250 seater Auditorium the college’s E- Library, Modern students comfort Station through TETFUND intervention and facilitation of the internet connectivity for the entire college through the Nigerian Communication commission has further positioned the school to meet up with emerging human challenges, this is aside giving the students ample opportunity for a healthy education which combines theory and practical in line with what obtains in other climes.
The visionary leadership of the Provost, Dr. Adeola kiadese Lukmon, who arguably happens to be one of the youngest head of tertiary institution in Nigeria also spurred the school’s management to look inwards and come up with several ventures including after ensuring the registration and incorporation of TASCE’s Investment Ltd with Seven subsidiary companies Viz: Tasce Food, Tasce Farm, Tasce Bookshop, Tasce Water, Tasce clothing and textiles Ltd, Tasce wood works Ltd amongst many others admirable ventures will in no distant time, further change the narratives. With this new soaring fortune of the institution, it can be submitted irrevocably that dominance of the school in Nigeria, Africa and indeed, the world, has come.
It is equally germane to highlights some of the strides the Institution made before now which has and still serves as a veritable platform and a major purveyor of the many landmark developments the school is experiencing. There is the open State- of- the -Arts college portal system, paving the way for seamless academic transactions for both students and staffs respectively. The Opening of the College network of roads has also eased the movement of personnel and students to and fro the school in good record time. Furthermore, Staff ICT capacity development through the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), has continued to receive the needed attention and its ripple effects of monumental benefit to its staffers with a commensurate level of work input and serving as a motivation.
Amidst the daunting challenges confronting the school colleges of education in Nigeria, TASCE has remained unwavering in its resolve and this has helped in the movement of the College’s Administrative Apparatus to its Permanent Site, just as it has also established the College Publishing outfits (TASCE PRESS), remodeling the College Gate House, Establishment of the Center for Degree Programme, Center for Science and Technology Innovation, Center for International linkages and Capacity Development, Center for social science research and leadership in Education, the Directorate of College Advancement, endowment Provision of staff offices and equipment, procurement of 18- seater Toyota Bus for the Directorate of quality Assurance through TETFUND intervention. Publishing and Distribution of over 3000 textbooks to students through TETFUND intervention and Maintaining cordial relationship with the Host Community will further advance its course.