In his address at a ‘welcome home’ reception held by the alumni of Akoko Anglican Grammar School in Arigidi Akoko, Ondo State, Rauf Aregbesola, the former Governor of Osun State, highlighted the negative impact caused by his successor, Gboyega Oyetola, when he reversed the education policy that Aregbesola had implemented. Aregbesola emphasized that the educational initiatives he had introduced were yielding positive results before their discontinuation.
“It is important for all governments to recognize that even though private schools may seem appealing, they can never replace publicly funded foundational education institutions if our goal is to provide education for all children and foster grassroots development. This is a dream we must never abandon.
“When I assumed office as the Governor of Osun State, I aimed to implement this concept. Our administration constructed 11 modern model secondary schools with a capacity of 3,000 students each, while also renovating and upgrading existing schools. These schools consisted of 72 classrooms, accommodating 49 students per class, as well as six study group rooms. They were equipped with six laboratories, 36 gender-separated toilets, two libraries for science and arts, a facility manager’s office, a bookshop, and a sick bay.
“We introduced ‘Opon Imo’ (the tablet of knowledge), a digital educational tool, as well as ethics and discipline in public schools. We even established a statewide agency for public school discipline. We introduced calisthenics, implemented a school feeding program, and prioritized health initiatives.
“The first school we inaugurated was Wole Soyinka Government High School in Ejigbo in 2015. By the time we left office in 2018, all 11 schools were fully operational. With each school graduating 1,000 students annually, we should have had at least 44,000 outstanding individuals by now if the program had been sustained. These schools were designed to produce exceptional individuals, and we were already witnessing the positive outcomes.
“During our tenure, one of our students achieved the highest score in the Senior Secondary School Examination, while another topped the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination shortly after our departure. Unfortunately, our successor, to our regret, was unable to maintain the same level of commitment and progress.”