Oyo State: UNICEF’s assistance on improving access to education receives boost

The current issue at stake in the Oyo State Education advancement agenda is the need to improve access and expand opportunities to learning in the state with a focus on access, equity, and quality.

The development led to a 2-day policy dialogue organized by the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF,) for concern Education stakeholders in the State, who have direct and indirect links with and responsibilities for basic education development and management in the state.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, held at Plaza De Haruna Hotel, Oyo, recently the state commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye (Barrister in law) placed great emphasis on teamwork of all and sundry in the State with the present administration to solve the problems of some education challenges inhibiting the progress of education in Oyo State.

According to him, it has become expedient for everyone in the State to key into the execution process of the Roadmap of the government on education, especially on means to bring all the out-of-school children back to school in the state

The Education Commissioner, ably represented by the Ministry’s Permanent secretary, Alhaja Aminat Atere, enjoined the participants, especially the community and religious leaders and the market men and women to collaborate with the State government in its bid to regain the lost glory of education in Oyo State.

Speaking in the same vein, the  Chairman, House Committee on Education, Oyo State House of Assembly, Honourable Oluwafemi Adebayo commended the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Unicef for organizing the policy dialogue, describing it as timely.  He expressed satisfaction with the caliber of people who took part in the policy dialogue meeting, as he admonished them to contribute their quota towards the realization of governorSeyiMakinde’s vision on education.

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He assured the participants that the State House of Assembly would not relent in its efforts to play its role in the Education development process in the State.

He, therefore, encouraged the general public to visit the house with their opinions on how the state would move forward.  He also urged all the media houses in the state to join the state government in the campaign for “Education is a must in the state”.

Similarly, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Executive Secretary, Mr Adeniyi Olusanjo in his presentation on Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) confirmed that series of activities to ensure better Education service Delivery tailoring towards improving literacy and increasing equitable access for out-of-school children are ongoing in the state.

He expressed optimism that Oyo State would get out of its out-of-school children challenges very soon but re-emphasizing that government would need public cooperation.

Three resource persons drawn from the university of Ibadan Immanuel Alayande College of Education and Tai Solarin University of Education, were involved in the policy dialogue meeting.

Dr Adenike Ekine from Tai Solarin University encouraged the State government to make provision for   pre-primary education in the public school, market places and in the communities in the state

According to her, investment in early childhood education would boost retention and learning in our school system.

Also, Professor, Kehinde Kester from the University of Ibadan made case for adult education programme in the campaign process for Education for all in the state, especially out of School children.

According to him, it has become inevitable to expose Adult education, which he called informal education programme to some of these children who may not be to return to the normal school system due to some circumstances beyond their control.

In addition, Dr. Joseph Adesina from Emmanuel Alayande College of Education  Oyo declared that the solution to bring every child out of school system  is dependent of  in our ability to identify causes of the problem, which varies from one individual to another and proffer solutions

According to him, major problems of out-of-school children resided in the community. “ As the government makes efforts to make school child-friendly, community leaders should show interest in the life of these innocent vulnerable children in the communities to facilitate their return to school.

At the end of the intensive deliberations by the participants, it was resolved that entire communities including the religious leaders and non-governmental organizations, as well as the media, houses should join the state government in creating awareness and sensitize the general public on the need for every child to attend school.

It was suggested that task force to arrest students or children of school age roaming the street or hawking during the school hour should be established.It was also suggested that the government should introduce scholarship awards to indigent students to motivate them.

In his response, the Education Specialist, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) B-field Office, Akure, Dr. Murtala Mohammed, described the ongoing series of policy dialogue meetings with relevant bodies in the education sector on different issues that needs urgent attention in the state as necessary to achieve governor’s vision on education.

According to him, if the state government would sustain its commitment to the ongoing reform process, the development would go a long way to turn the State around. He pledged the UNICEF’s readiness to support the state government’s drive to fruition its roadmap on education.

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