The Osun State government is set to reverse some educational policies, including the controversial single school uniform, introduced in the state by Rauf Aregbesola, the immediate past governor of the state, a report has revealed.
Also set to be reviewed are the reclassification of the public school system and the abolition of single-sex schools across the state, Premium Times reports.
Other educational policies set to be up for consideration by the administration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola, who served as Chief of Staff to Aregbesola, are the introduction of ‘opon imo,’ otherwise referred to as tablet of knowledge, issuance of primary school leaving certificates, change of schools’ identities, ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), operations of Osun State University, merger of basic and high schools across many communities, among others.
Aregbesola, who is now the Minister of Interior, had on October 5, 2013, introduced and appeared in a uniform which the administration said it would be unified for schools across the state. Tagged “O-Uniform,” otherwise known as, Osun school uniform project, the former governor insisted on moving ahead with the change despite several protests, particularly by garment manufacturers, who described the policy as “ill-conceived”.
The critics argued that the state’s partnership with a private company, Sam and Sera Garments Limited, to purchase, sew and distribute the uniforms to students and pupils was a deliberate attempt at killing small scale businesses.
The state government at the time argued that it has establishedOmoluabi Garment Factory, which, it claimed, would sew 750,000 sets of uniforms to be distributed free to pupils and students across the state.
Many stakeholders, including teachers, parents and alumni of different schools, said the government’s decision would not only create identity problems but may also obliterate the history of schools.
Aregbesola also changed the school reclassification policy of 6-3-3-4 and 9-3-4 systems operated by Nigerian government with what was described as a 4-5-3-4 system, leading to the restructuring of primary and secondary schools into elementary, middle and high schools.
The new reclassification system also led to merger of schools in various communities as the administration said rather than building classrooms across the many schools in the state, it decided to build gigantic structures in various communities to accommodate a large number of different age groups in various communities.
However, following the implementation of the policies, various stakeholders in the education sector in the state raised objections, stating that they noticed dangerous consequences, including gangsterism, cultism, truancy, and installation of pornographic items on the tablets by the students.
Also, the state’s chapter of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and parents complained to the authorities on how they were finding it difficult to identify their students due to the introduction of the single school uniform and the merger of the schools.
It was learnt that the review of these policies by the Governor Oyetola administration is a response to the clamour for the policy reviews by stakeholders, including educationists, school administrators, missionaries and school owners.
The leaders of the various educational bodies in the state had upon the assumption of office of this administration held meetings with the state government officials and renewed the agitation for review of some of the controversial policies.
This led the state government to develop what it described as “an executive council memorandum on education”.
According to separate statements issued by both Funke Egbemode, the state’s commissioner for information and civic engagement, and Ismail Omipidan, the governor’s chief press secretary, at the inauguration of a two-day roundtable summit on the review of the policies, Governor Oyetola noted that out of 26 issues raised in the memorandum, 14 issues were unanimously endorsed for review by the cabinet while 12 others were referred to the committee.
“It is important to let you know that in the interest of the generality of our people and in the spirit of democracy, I directed that all the 26 issues raised in the Executive Council Memorandum be discussed extensively and dispassionately with a view to arriving at informed decisions on every issue.
The governor added; “While some of the issues were unanimously agreed upon, twelve (12) other issues were referred to this Consultative Forum dedicated to addressing and making recommendations on the issues,” Governor Oyetola, who was represented by his deputy, Benedict Alabi, stated at the opening of the two-day roundtable summit by the committee in Osogbo last Thursday.
According to the online news medium, the policies on the school merger and the unified school uniforms are part of the 14 policies already agreed by the cabinet to reverse.