By Moses Adeniyi
The Oyo State Government is going to add no less than 7,000 to its bank of teachers in the State owned secondary schools, it has been has learnt.
The disclosure was made known to Nigerian NewsDirect, in an interview with the State’s Commissioner for Education, Mr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye.
The Commissioner in the disclosure, hinted that plans are on the way to extend the same fortune to primary schools within the State, as a measure to strengthen their staff strength.
According to the Commissioner, the recruitment have been designed to meet tough requirements, in order to get seasoned teachers of the best quality, which he said is key to improving standards of Education in the State.
The Commissioner who disclosed further that the State has commenced the recruitment of Education Officers by the Civil Service Commission, stressed that the efforts are geared towards developing best standards of education in Public schools.
Adding that the State Government has invested much in capacity building of teachers in the State, the Commissioner assured that the effects would be felt in the results of Oyo State Students who participated in this year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), among other external examinations.
Giving assurance of a good performance, Olasunkanmi said parents and guardians should be expectant of good results from their wards on their various external examinations.
According to him, the effects of the efforts of the Governor Seyi Makinde led Administration on Education in Public Schools are now reflecting, as parents who have whisked their children to private schools, are now returning them back, having seen drastic improvements in standards.
He said: “Before the pandemic, especially the last one year, we gave out free textbooks to our students in Oyo State. We phased out payment of school fees in Oyo state generally.
“Not only that, we started giving grants to our schools directly in order to sustain non-payment of school fees. For the students that sat for WAEC, we specially organised intervention classes for them, and it was the same for those that sat for Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) Examination.
“So, we strongly believe that our students will give us good results in these examinations. Our qualitative education policies will continue in the state. Now that schools have fully resumed, we are presently recruiting teachers. We hope to add at least 7000 (seven thousand) teachers into our secondary schools.
“Very soon, we will follow suit for the primary schools. Even at the Ministry of Education, we have started the recruitment of Education Officers. We have Ministry controlled schools in Oyo state.
“Therefore, we have started the recruitment of Education Officers by the Civil Service Commission. They will be mainly graduates. These are some of the steps we are taking here in Oyo State so that the quality of education can improve, and we can sustain the good name of our forefathers, even though what we met when we came into office is not something one can be proud of. However, with what we have done in the last one year, we have gone far, and we will continue to sustain the system.
“For the parents, we demonstrated seriousness; we demonstrated sincerity and commitment, especially the way we handled the idea of learning during the pandemic.
“So, for parents, with what we’ve done so far, there is no doubt that they are convinced that our children will come out in flying colours in all their examinations, and we’ve received a lot of support from them.”
Speaking on capacity building, the Commissioner said: “Before the resumption, apart from training of our teachers on COVID-19 guidelines, we trained private schools as well, and we also held series of meetings with the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) and our own School Governing Board.
“Parents should expect very sound and resounding successes from our students in Oyo State. We will also count on their support as well during this period.
“You need to go to our public schools and see the pressure, because a lot of students from private schools are now coming back to public schools in large numbers. That’s what is happening in Oyo State because teachers are happy.
“The quality of teaching has gone up. The salary is very regular. It’s being paid on the 25th of every month. So, the enthusiasm and the commitment have gone up. The parents are seeing it to the extent that within a year, the quality of students has really gone up, and the parents are seeing it.”
On the recruitment process, he said: “If you have been following these requirement processes, we organised examinations for would-be teachers, and the minimum pass mark is 50 percent. Although about 66,000 (sixty-six thousand) sat for that examination, close to 7,000 (seven thousand) were able to scale the 50 (fifty) per cent mark and that has given us high quality graduates.
“From what we’ve seen in the interviews, we now have excellent graduates that can take up teaching jobs in Oyo state. It’s been very impressive. Of course, we’ve had NCE (Nigeria Certificate in Education) holders, Post Graduate Diploma in Education, BSC holders. We have close to 500 (five hundred) first class graduates who applied for the job, and several of them also have their postgraduate certificates.
“So, the quality of teachers we are trying to recruit will be second to none. Even for those that remain in the service, training and re-training will continue in Oyo state.”
The Commissioner, further disclosed that against the prevailing 25 per cent subvention to tertiary institutions by the previous administration, the current Governor Seyi Makinde led Administration, has raised the subvention to a 100 per cent.
“The commitment is very high. For example, before we came in, the last administration was giving them 25 per cent as subvention for their salary payment. But when we came, this government restructured it to 100 per cent subvention. That’s why you don’t hear any noise in these schools. For tertiary institutions, salaries are paid fully by the Oyo State government. And since July, the Oyo state government has resumed full payment also, even in LAUTECH.
“ The government is paying 100 percent of subvention to tertiary institutions in Oyo State. Also, in this year’s budget, the government has included capital grants for schools, ranging from N120 to N300 million depending on the size of the school.
“That has not been done before, but the Oyo state government is doing it now. During emergency at the Ministry of Education, we also established Education Emergency Response Plan Committee that has drafted education emergency response plan for tertiary institutions, and we’ve seen it through. What we are looking for is a situation whereby when any emergency happens, learning in tertiary institutions will continue in Oyo state.
“And the discussion on it is ongoing. The governor has reconstituted the governing boards of all tertiary institutions in Oyo State and they’ve started working as well. By and large, the focus is also very much on tertiary institutions in Oyo state.”