Following the various issues trailing the poor performance of students in Oyo state public schools, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun speaks with YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE, on the various challenges facing education in the state and why the state government is taking a holistic approach to the issue to ensure the status quo changes
“Oyo state is a very peculiar state and students have been doing badly among their peers from other states from other states. There had been an obvious drop in academic performance since 1999 while there had been so much indiscipline among students,” said Toye Arulogun.
This drop may be responsible for the belief held by many that politicians brought decay into the education system since there seems to be a downward trend with the advent of democracy in Nigeria.
Arulogun said that the era of patching, managing and window dressing the education sector in the state is gone adding that the statistics on mass failure in schools is saddening.
“Over fifty thousand students failed to get five (5) credits including English and Mathematics, each year from 1999 to 2015? It is pathetic that 61,232 sat for the exam in 2008 and 5,608 passed, in 2009, 60,444 sat for the exam, 7,204 passed. Year 2010, 65,330 sat for the exam, 8,757 passed, in 2011, 72,559 sat for the exam and 12,314 passed while in 2012, there were 75, 179 candidates and 12,314 passed. These results are woeful and should not be from a state with the appellation ‘Pace Setter’,” he stated.
Speaking on the various issues besieging education, Arulogun stated that the government did not just jump into conclusion about the situation of things, adding that the government inaugurated a 31-man team led by Professor Adeniyi Sulaimon Gbadegesin, to among other responsibilities, review the status and standard of education in the state as well as recommend suitable and plausible options that will enhance the overall standard of education.
According to him, the committee came up with issues of discrepancy of data in different units of the state education sector, dismal performance of students in WASSE due to non challant attitude to studies and non committal of most parents to their children’s welfare as a result of the misrepresentation of government policy on free education.
Other factors according to him are non challant attitude of some teachers to work due to low morale, wide range in students’ enrolment in schools, waste of resources which created a situation where about 50 schools exist without students and teachers there collect salary, and the unwillingness of most stakeholders to collaborate with government in school management.
He added that contrary to speculations that the government did not inform stakeholders especially teachers about the stop in automatic promotion, there was a circular issued by the Ministry of Education to schools in July 2015, adding that he doesn’t understand why there seems to be a communication gap on the issue.
He added that the holistic approach embraced by government was due to the fact that the government understands the fact that it is time to improve the education system in the state and create a good learning environment for the students in different secondary schools.
He concluded that the figures and percentage of students performance in WAEC is a good indication that things needs to be done differently and urgently and called for collaboration by all stake holders.