Each time I heard the rhetoric that”Education is free in Oyo state”, what always come to my mind is the phrase made popular by a former First Lady of the Federation, Patience Jonathan, ” there is God ooo”.
Good enough, Governor Makinde always allude to the fact that he, as a young student enjoyed the Free Education.
The question is, can he, in all honesty, compare the Free Education he personally enjoyed as a young pupil to the shambolic policy he has put in place now as Governor of Oyo state?
How many of the Governor’s children, that of his immediate family or that of his appointees, who shamelessly come out to defend his Education policies attend public Primaries and Secondary schools to enjoy the Governor’s”Free Education “?
Each time Governor Makinde or his appointees have the opportunity to talk to the Media about the state of Education in Oyo state, they always talked about how the Administration of Makinde have succeeded in taking “thousands of out of school children off the streets back to the classrooms”.
I do not intend to argue with the Government about the high figures they always churn out, even though, there is no Data provided to back their homongus claims.
The more important question is, those they have succeeded in taking back to the public schools, what concrete plans did they put in place to ensure the quality of Education from the schools?
How can sound and quality Education be given to students who were taken from the streets and lumped in their hundreds in dillapidated classrooms?
Obviously, the intent of the Governor is just to play with figures while neglecting the quality of Education.
No wonder Oyo state is now synonymous with exam malpractice, cheating during examinations and mass failures in WAEC.
Education is such that you can not build something on nothing.
The claim of the Governor that all is well with the Education sector in Oyo state is falling like a pack of cards in the face of ugly performance in WAEC and deregistration of schools by WAEC.
I challenge Governor Makinde to make public the position of Oyo state in WAEC for the past two years.
His predecessors in office have laid more solid foundations for Education in Oyo state.
You can talk of the thirty students per class policy of former Governor Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja.
That was a policy aimed at ensuring sound and quality Education, having in mind the fact that the lesser the number of students in a class, the more it is easier for the class teachers to teach optimally.
During the Administration of late former Governor Adebayo Alao Akala, Professor Soji Adejumo was Chairman, Oyo SUBEB and I recollect that the SUBEB under him won awards for coming second throughout Nigeria.
Late Governor Ajimobi came up with a beautiful policy of Secondary schools Boards and the three thousand Naira per session tuition which actually was a result of an agreement between Government and stakeholders in the Education sector after series of consultations.
This system was on and was working perfectly until Governor Makinde, without consultations put it off and declared that Education will be free in Oyo state.
During late Ajimobi’s tenure and just like all of Governor Makinde’s predecessors, free exercise and Text books were given to pupils in both Primary and Secondary schools.
During late Governor Akala’s tenure, Government was paying for both WAEC and NECO fees of pupils and late Governor Ajimobi paid for the WAEC fees.
Governor Makinde does not pay for either of WAEC and NECO which is in thousands of Naira.
All he does is to abolish payment of three thousand Naira per session in the Secondary schools of which no parent was complaining of.
Unfortunately, despite the rants of Government that Education is free in Oyo state, parents still have to pay all kinds of levies because Governor Makinde is not forthcoming with the promise to release Grants and running costs to schools as and at when due.
Now, let’s ask ourselves, would you rather have a system that pays thousands of Naira for WAEC and NECO while you pay a meagre three thousand Naira per session, with a system that is working or a system that abolishes three thousand Naira per session and leaves you to pay thousands of Naira for WAEC and NECO and the system itself is not even working?
Only Governor Makinde and his Government officials who will never wish for their children to attend the Public schools in Oyo state will see the already comatose state of Education in Oyo state as “free Education”.