Oyo State Government has sent up to 34 percent of the out-of-school children population in the State back to class while efforts are being intensified to ensure that no school-aged child is left out.
The Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology in the State, Professor Kehinde Sangodoyin, made this known during the launching and dedication of projects embarked upon by the old students of the Ibadan City Academy, Ibadan.
Sangodoyin assured that the State would leave no stone unturned in its move to provide qualitative education without financial burden on parents and guardians, adding that arrangements are in top gear to reintroduce boarding system to public schools.
He said, “Part of the State education policy is to improve access and participation of our students in academic activities at all levels, be it primary or secondary, and the Governor has removed levies formally paid by our students and has just approved the payment of running cost to our primary and secondary schools.”
The Commissioner stated that 64,000 units of furniture would soon be distributed to all public schools in the State, saying the measure would help improve the standard of education in the State.
Sangodoyin also revealed that teachers on Level 16 to 17 would assume the title of ‘Tutor-Generals’ while government would start paying running costs for the upkeep of public schools from Monday.
Concerning the out-of-school children, he disclosed that the government is working with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, towards sensitizing parents and facilitating the procedure of mopping the rest of the number back to school from the street.
Sangodoyin said, “We are engaging all stakeholders: volunteers, traditional council, leaders of thought and the media, to counsel the children wherever they may be found so that they will see the beauty of being back at school for the good of their own future.”
“Plans are underway to provide them with uniform, we have free textbooks and notebooks and we are supplying them with feeding to retain their interest after getting them back totally. We all know that poverty contributed to the cause of their being outside the school and these items are the major needs that will make them come to school and stay,” he affirmed.
The Commissioner enjoined school administrators to cooperate with government in the area of policy actualization, warning them not to collect money from students for the free textbooks and notebooks provided by government.
The President-General of the Ibadan City Academy Old Students’ Association (ICAOSA), Chief Richard Titiloye, commended the State government for the attention given to quality education, adding that corporate bodies and school alumni should do more to support government.