Why is the Gateway State such an attractive choice for private university owners? Mr. Olusegun Odubela, the state’s Commissioner for Education in a chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly sheds light on this and more…
Ogun has the highest number of higher institutions in the country. What would you attribute this to?
First, we need to know that Ogun state is the cradle of western education and our founding fathers gave pre eminence to education. Again, Ogun state has vast land, and for higher institutions, you need specific acres of land. Also, the environment is conducive for learning.
The government has made provisions in terms of security and the likes which have made Ogun state conducive for learning. Aside the many private higher institutions, we have 10 public tertiary institutions in Ogun state, whereas some states have six or there about.
Talking statistics, what’s the percentage of secondary school leavers who gain admission annually?
We are close to 60 percent, precisely between 55 and 57 percent. In 2011, before we came in, it was less than 20 percent.
What’s the state government policy regarding fees for state-owned institutions?
Since this administration came in 2011, education has been free at secondary and primary levels. From text books, mathematical sets, pens, everything is free. Before our administration, pupils paid N1,500 per term. We have also abolished all exam fees, even for WAEC both at the senior and junior secondary levels. While at the tertiary institution level, it is highly subsidized.
What are some of the socio-economic implications of this?
With more schools, more lecturers have been employed, more students have been in school. Also, traders, even the petty ones, will make sales as students will have to buy stuffs. In addition to these, it generates more revenue to the state coffers through taxes.
To secondary and primary schools now, Ogun state is believed to have the highest number of public secondary schools in the country, is this so?
Yes, we have about 500 public secondary schools and about 1500 public primary schools in the state.
Finally, what’s the plan of the government to improve the standard of education in the state?
We make sure we don’t take the welfare package of the teachers lightly. We train and re-train our teachers so they can impart this on the students. Also, we have introduced a Unified Examination System. Every student in Ogun state now sits for the same exams. The curriculum in Shagamu is the same as in Ota.