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Akeredolu ends free WAEC fees in Ondo as part of ambitious reforms

Politics

Akeredolu ends free WAEC fees in Ondo as part of ambitious reforms

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu just ended the free payment of WAEC registration fees for its citizens with effect from 2018.

The state’s education commissioner Mr. Femi Agagu announced the governor’s approval after the executive council meeting. He also informed the public that the proposal to constitute an Education Trust Fund has been approved by the governor.

Going by what we know, the state has set the ball rolling for its ambitious education sector reforms. The state hopes that the ETF which will comprise high net worth individuals and voluntary contributions of N1000 each from ordinary citizens will help to fix the education sector.

Why it matters:

The Ondo state Government convened a 2-day education summit from the 26th of October and released a 19 point communiqué at the close on the 27th. The communiqué was met with outrage by stakeholders across the state including the legislative arm of government which threatened a showdown with the governor.

The latest decision by the governor to scrap government’s payment of WAEC registration fees is consistent with the second article in the communique which states that, “Government should fund education at the primary school level while parents should be responsible for the education of their children at the secondary and tertiary levels.”

The second announcement on the setup of a state level ETF also aligns with other recommendations from the Education Summit’s communique. The article (No. 1) states that, “the issue of Education funding is too important to be left in the hands of Government alone if we must achieve functionality in education. It must be the business of all stakeholders. While article (No. 7) reads, ”State Government, Philanthropists, Old Students Association, PTA and Corporate Organizations should embark on aggressive renovation/reconstruction of dilapidated school structures to make such schools learners friendly.”

What we know about the Reform Proposals: We’ve classified them according to controversial, popular and technical recommendations.

Controversial Recommendations

  • Government should fund education at the Primary school level while parents should be responsible for the education of their children at the Secondary and Tertiary levels.
  • There should be a review of chargeable fees in State’s tertiary institutions in line with the needs of each school and current economic realities.
  • The Ministry should enforce the cancellation of automatic promotion of students in schools while the conduct of Joint SS2 promotion examination should be sustained to present qualified candidates for the school certificate examination.
  • State Government; International Development Patners; Non Govermental Organisations; and spirited individuals should collaborate in the training and retraining of teachers; school Administrators/Education Managers in order to update their knowledge on contemporary issues on education.
  • That a measurable parameter should be designed for the promotion of teachers while Teachers Biometric Attendance device should be designed to monitor their class attendance and enhance productivity.

Popular Recommendations

  • Examination Ethics and Disciplinary Committee should be strengthened in the Ministry and schools to checkmate incidences of examination malpractice.
  • The Ministry should reinvigorate co-curricular activities in schools while craft work and school gardens should be revived in all schools.
  • Curriculum contents in schools should be reviewed and domesticated to meet relevant needs while implementation should be enforced.
  • Emphasis should be placed on skills acquisition in our schools while technical workshops should be resuscitated. Skills Acquisition Centres should also be set up across the three senatorial zones of the State.
  • State Government should recruit teachers to fill all relevant vacancies in public primary and secondary schools.
  • State Government should provide well stocked libraries in schools to bring back reading culture while the process of migration to e-library should commence with first generation secondary schools in the State.
  • Government and spirited individuals should put in place industrial driven vocational training and adequately equip the existing Technical Colleges and Skills Acquisition Centres to make their graduates readily employable and become employers of labour.
  • State Government should provide conducive learning environment furnished with learning gadgets such as Audiometers, Braille machines and other assistive technological devices in the State Special Schools to enhance effective teaching and learning processes for students with special needs.

Technical Issues

  • The issue of return of schools to their original owners requires further engagement amongst stakeholders in order to arrive at amicable and workable solution.
  • Community involvement in Quality Assurance support to schools is desirable and should complement the monitoring and supervision roles of the Ministry of Education, Science & – Technology to enhance quality of instruction in schools.
  • Mega schools in the State should be put into more functional,optimal and better use by government to address the current state of underutilization of some of them.
  • School Based Management Committee; Schools Board of Governors and Parents Forum should be re-invigorated in the State’s secondary and tertiary institutions.

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