We ’ll address out-of-school-children — Ondo SUBEB
By Boluwatife Akinola
There are about 240,000 out-of-school children in Ondo State, the Chairman, Ondo State Universal Education Board (SUBEB), Victor Olabimtan has revealed.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the parley with Media Executives in the state, Olabimtan stated that the rate of out-of-school children in South West Nigeria, not leaving out Ondo State, was becoming alarming and every stakeholder must be engaged to address it.
He said, “It has become a serious socioeconomic issue because it has become a breeding ground for social and political miscreants. Studies have shown it is a growing menace in this part of the world without leaving out our state.
He added “When this government came on February 24, 2017, the state of infrastructure and quality of curriculum in most of our schools were nothing to write home about. Most of the structures in our primary schools were in a state of despair, becoming a haven for dangerous reptiles and men of the underworld.
“This was the situation the present government inherited and the government latched into the opportunity by paying the matching grants out at over N3.9 billion with additional same from UBEC. The government was able to turn around the narrative for the better.”
The former Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly said the current state government had turned the tide around in providing good infrastructure, sporting equipment, qualified teachers and other materials needed to provide a quality learning environment for students in the state.
He said Ondo State has been able to access UBEC funds up to 2023, beating several states in the country in its commitment to providing quality education.
The SUBEB Chairman also said that the state government had also provided sporting equipment to schools and in the just concluded South West Regional Basic Education School Sports Competition, BESS, the State came first and her athletes will represent the zone at the grand finale at the national level.
Parts of the achievements reeled out were the training of over 900 school administrators and provision of digital devices for attendance management, uniform teaching modules and Ondo State Smart School in Owo will commence operations by the next academic session.
The Chairman added that free education is fully implemented at the basic education level, teachers’ promotion and development have been regular and less than 20% have NCE, with PhD holders teaching in some schools in the state.
He said “As I tell you now, parents are taking their children from private schools to public schools and our attendance has improved,” assuring that the shortage of teachers will be addressed as soon as possible as the governor has assured that teachers and other school workers will be recruited soonest.
He added that there is no primary school in Ondo State without computer systems and computer teachers, adding that not less than an additional 58 schools will be renovated and fenced while more than 100 will benefit from the 4,000 chairs and lockers to be distributed very soon.
Speaking on the challenges faced, he expressed dissatisfaction over the vandalisation of schools and encroachment on school lands across the state.
He, however, said the board was collaborating with relevant security agencies and other stakeholders to tackle the challenges, charging communities to protect government properties in their domains because the properties belong to them.
He appealed to members of the press to support the government in taking education to a higher place in the state, calling on individuals, organisations, groups and communities to also support the government in ensuring quality education in Ondo State.