By Julius Toba-Jegede
Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun has given reasons why he returned the 6-3-3-4 education policy to the state and abolished the single uniform policy immediately on assumption of office in 2018.
The governor disclosed the reasons in Abuja when he appeared at NAN Forum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He explained that his decision was based on the overwhelming demand of the people of the state who called for the reversal of the 4-5-3-4 policy introduced by the immediate past government of Rauf Aregbesola.
The governor said that there were indications that the policies were not in tune with what parents and students in the state desired at the time.
He also revealed that the previous policies, according to security reports, were encouraging cultism and other social vices among students in Osun.
Oyetola added that the abolition of the policies was part of the recommendations of a committee of experts set up review the initiatives in the education sector in the state.
“When we came on board, we decided to look at the totality of the activities of government.
” We went round to do a thank you tour for the people who voted us in and where we decided to harvest all their demands.
“The first major demand from the people generally was the reversal of the single uniform policy. They believed that it was not something they wanted.
‘’They believed it was not a popular decision. And I was getting reports from security agencies that the single uniform policy was encouraging cultism and other vices.
” They were unable to know who and who committed what? In that case, everybody is wearing the same thing, so they commit crimes and disappear.
“We then had the opportunity of the Department For International Development (DFID) who went round to do what they called citizens’ demands.
” Part of what they came up with in their report was that the people said they didn’t want this single uniform policy.
“In any case, when I wanted to contest in 2018, I was taken to task on this same policy.
” I told the people then that no policy is ever rigid. Policies are meant to be reviewed constantly, so if people say they don’t want it, why not? We will look at it.
“And that was exactly what we did in this case. Mind you, it was not a unilateral decision.
” We set up a committee of highly respected professionals, especially professors of education, to help us look at the totality of our education sector and its policies, and come up with recommendations.
“These are the likes of Professors Olu Aina, Ibidapo-Obe and others; they came up with these recommendations which are part of what we are implementing.
” They said the single uniform policy was not assisting us in any way and that we should reverse it and that was exactly what we did.
On the 4-5-3-4, Oyetola said the policy did not align with the National Policy on Education such that most development partners and agencies refused to support the state on educational projects.
“The National Policy on Education is 6-3-3-4, ordinarily every state should align with the national policy as the minimum standard for education.
” Again, some of the donor agencies particularly UNICEF refused to support us on our educational activities because we did not align with the national policy.
“Meanwhile, the major reason for the 4-5-3-4 was actually because of the introduction of the school feeding programme.
The programme will take care of pupils in classes one to three, and four and five will not be happy if they are not eating.
“I believe that could have been taken care of administratively. It shouldn’t have affected the classification of the school system in the state,’’ he said.
The governor, who admitted that the previous policy caused some setbacks for the education sector in the state, cited the inability of pupils in the state to enroll for primary school leaving certificate examination as a result.
“Though I won’t dwell so much about the setbacks caused by this policy, I think what is important is for you to identify the needs, correct a few things and move on.
“Like the issue of our pupils not being enrolled for primary six leaving certificate examination because we didn’t have class six at that time, those were parts of the reasons why we have done what we did,” he said.
NAN reports that Oyetola, in March 2020, reversed the single school uniform, ‘reclassification’ of the public school system and the abolition of single-sex schools introduced in 2013 by Aregbesola. (NAN)