Parents should complement govt’s efforts by monitoring their children —Best school principal in Oyo State
Chief Mrs Ramat Adepoju is the principal, Oke Bola Comprehensive High School, Ibadan. She was recently given an award by Governor Seyi Makinde as the best principal in Oyo State. In this interview by Rukiyat Bakare, she speaks about her award and a recent clash allegedly involving her school.
You were recently given an award by the Oyo State governor as the best principal in Oyo State, barely two weeks to your retirement. How do you feel about it?
I feel great. feel so fulfilled and I’m very grateful to God Almighty and also to Governor Seyi Makinde for the recognition.
What are those things you did specially as a principal to deserve this award?
I don’t think there is anything I did specially or diiferently from the way my colleagues have been doing it. It is only the grace and the mercy of God that I have. Since I became a school principal, this is the third school I have been posted to. In any school I’m posted to, I’m always in a hurry to see something to put on the ground bearing in mind that it is possible they repost or transfer me to another school. So, I always ensure I put something on the ground. Maybe I am getting the award for this reason, but overall, it’s the grace of God.
You are retiring from service this month. Can you give us a peek into your past 35 years in service?
God has been faithful. It has not been a bed of roses, but I am still grateful to God. I was a classroom teacher, head of department, HOS, vice principal, then a principal. The only period turbulent for me and also other civil servants in this state during my service was during the regime of the last government.
What are the challenges you faced during your years as a school principal?
I had challenges as a school principal because you will want your students to excel and perform very well, and you will have issues of students fighting among themselves and things like that; you will have teachers that don’t want to obey school rules and regulations. These are challenges, but I’m grateful to God.
Your school was recently in the news for some students’ clash. What do you think happened?
A lot of media houses gave the public wrong information. My school is well fenced and a lot of people around know that my students are well-behaved. What happened was that some hoodlums went to attack students of Ibadan Municipal Grammar School, Oke Bola, Ibadan, a school very close to my school. Students of the attacked school felt my students should come out to help them in fighting the hoodlums, but my students were locked up in the school. They then entered our school by force and in the process they damaged vehicles of two teachers. We were able to curtail the incident, but my students were not involved.
What did you think is responsible for violence among school children?
Most of the violence among these children is from their homes. For example, there was a time somebody said his sister was beaten by a senior student and in the process he came to the school to fight. Some would say a teacher beat my ward, and they will come to fight the school authorities. Most times, it is due to quarrels from home, such as this person took my boyfriend and things like that. And we have written to the Ministry of Education that, most especially, IMG Grammar School be given a fence. My students are behaving well because the school is well fenced. We believe that by the time they do same thing to IMG Grammar School, there will be improvement.
What do you think about the standard of education in Oyo State?
I believe we are not yet there but with the present governor’s effort on education, we will get there soonest. The governor has been magnanimous enough because he bought textbooks for students; students no longer pay school fees; there are free JAMB lessons and prompt payment of teachers’ salary. Wth all these efforts, I believe the sky is just the beginning for education in Oyo State.
What do you think of the free education policy of the state government?
It is a very good policy; it is a wonderful programme because there are lots of parents whose children would have dropped out of school because they could not meet up with the payment of the school fee. I will only appeal to parents to help by monitoring their children so that the governor’s efforts will not be in vain.
What are your suggestions toward improving the standard of education in Oyo State?
I believe all the necessary things to be done are already being done by our governor. Students are no more paying; teachers are collecting their salaries regularly. Before the arrival of the current governor, we were owed six months salary. It was very difficult for school administrators to control teachers; but now teachers will not wait for anyone to prompt them before doing the needful. Kudos to the new governor. The condition of service has tremendiously improved since the beginning of his government.
For Oyo State to move from the 26th position in West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) examination, what do you think should be done?
I believe with all the efforts put in place by the state government there is nothing stopping us from moving from the 26th to a single-digit position. But like I said earlier, parents should please support the government. Parents should cooperate with the governor by encouraging their children to equally take their studies serious.
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