By Bukola Olamona
Ondo State Government has granted one billion naira budgetary provision dedicated to the renovations of secondary schools across the state.
Stating this is the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Femi Agagu in an interview with The Hope in his office, Akure, the state capital.
He said Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is committed to the development of the education sector by ensuring that enough fund is allocated to the sector.
His words: ‘Mr governor graciously granted us one billion naira budgetary provision for renovation of schools. We have not been able to access it but we have the assurance that we will access a substantial part of it before the year runs out and that will be dedicated to secondary schools only.
‘Even if it is only our Unity schools that we can make as models, so that people will know how we want all our schools to be. At the end of the day, we will be able to extend it to all our 304 secondary schools in the state.
While addressing issue of shortage of teachers, the commissioner said soon all neccessary mechinaries is put in place to fill available vacancies.
‘For us in Ondo state, we are not in anywhere near that. Even at the time SDPIC report was compiled, the data at our disposal was at one to thirty five for teacher/students ratio and one to forty teacher /pupils ratios both of which are still within the prescribed range. I must also admit that there is shortage of teachers in our schools which has arisen out of depletion, either through people retiring, natural passages or death.
‘ For the secondary school, we have an accurate data and as at the last time we had the exercise, with the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM), we realised that we needed one thousand two hundred teachers. They know the exact numbers of teachers per subject that are needed. I insisted that we must also know the location where they are needed. There might not be shortage in Akure, Ondo but there might be in Ore,Ose and Ese Odo. So we have accurate data and we are working along with the office of the Head of Service.
‘ The plan of government is that before we go out to hire, we are considering the circumstances on ground, with workers on ground being owed salaries before this government came on board. So you have to look critically before you expand the size of the service again to the point that it will be difficult to pay.
‘So let us look at the mainstream of the service and see if there are people who majored in education but are doing something different or people who were teaching before but have used their connection to migrate into the mainstream of the service. Let’s call them back into the system so that when we had done that we would know the exact number we have left. ‘Government can go ahead and hire knowing that there is no other thing we can do and we trust God that we have resources to pay them. For SUBEB, I do not have their data.
‘I hear complaints that there were some schools that have acute shortage of teachers but they have not obliged us with their figures. I believe they are handling that. Even when the NUT asked me, I told them “to go to SUBEB”. But we are working closely with TESCOM.
‘As soon as we get the reports from the office of the Head of Service, we will set in motion the machinery to ensure we fill those vacancies.! He concluded.