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By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has once again cleared the air on the speculations that the ongoing restructuring, reclassification and reforms being made in all the state owned tertiary institutions were aimed to retrench the workforce.
Aregbesola also disclaimed the insinuations that the idea behind the initiatives was to witch-hunt the opposition, stressing that on no account does the government plans to inflict pains on any of its workers.
Governor Aregbesola made the denouncement while addressing people during the official commissioning of N140m E-Library and N34.4m Ultra-Modern Lecture Hall of Osun State College of Education, OSSCE, Ila-Orangun.
The Governor who described the insinuations making the round as a total falsehood, baseless and unfounded, said the steps were taken to ensure sanity, competence, efficiency and effectiveness in the education system.
The state helmsman who attributed the immense achievements made through the initiatives as unparalleled since the creation of the state, said no effort would be spared at taking the state to an enviable heights never known in history.
The Governor who attributed tertiary education to what he regarded as golden necessity, said no effort could be too much in providing quality, functional and quantitative education by the government.
Aregbesola said the reforms and restructuring measures put in place by his administration has brought about the needed change, just as competence and effectiveness had been restored to tertiary education.
Aregbesola recounted some of the innovations brought to education by his administration, saying the records had been successfully set right at giving the education its best and rightful place in governance.
The Governor said tertiary education has become a central point of discuss in his administration since assumption of office, saying no going back at ensuring the churning-out of competent and competitive graduates in all the state owned tertiary institutions.
He warned the mischief makers to stop portraying the state in bad light, affirming that no amount of propaganda would weigh down his government in its focus at giving birth to deserved quality education.
According to him, “the government has no intention of witch-hunting or victimising anyone for his or her religious, political or ideological leaning because our intention was the bring up the quality of the lecturers through the reforms.
“What we are trying to do is to ensure everyone is qualified and fits into the bigger picture of the holistic education we are providing in the state.
Governor Aregbesola also debunked the rumours that his government had concluded plans to close-down the institution, stressing that nothing as such was ever aimed.
He said with the reforms being carried out, there is no doubt in the fact that the step would of course, bring up the quality of the lecturers through the training and retraining mechanism being put in place.
The Governor said his government has no intention of witch-hunting or victimizing anyone for his or her religious, political or ideological leaning, reiterating that what the government was trying to do is to ensure that everyone is qualified and fits into the bigger picture of the holistic education being provided in the state.
Governor Aregbesola said the purpose was to champion the right cause and ensure that the academic institutions are capable of self-examination.
According to him, “An academic institution should be capable of self-examination leading to self-regeneration.
“It is our firm belief that a reasonable measure of freedom must exist in any academic community to be able to bring out the best in the faculty and students.
“I am a product of academic freedom and I cannot therefore poison the well from which I drank.
“However, freedom carries responsibility. This responsibility begins with critical self-examination. An unexamined life, Socrates warned us, is not worth living.
“A critical mass must emerge from every institution, nudging it towards self-redefinition and self-correction, in order to retain its relevance and not atrophy.
“This is at the background of certain reforms being carried out in all the educational institutions in this state.
He noted that the existing institutions were also being restructured to have less fresh intakes but include retraining for teachers as part of its core mission.
He said, “Though we still need more teachers than are presently employed nationally because the absorption capacity has waned just as this has led to many graduates looking for employment in other sectors.
“We must also improve the quality of our teachers, if we want to improve the quality of education we are giving to the young ones.
“This is why the institutions are being restructured to have less fresh intakes but include retraining for teachers as part of its core mission.
“They will also organize remedial instructions for secondary school leavers preparing for SSSCE retake and admission into higher institutions, as this initiative would put to rest the false, unfounded and malicious speculation that the government is closing down these schools.
Governor Aregbesola who described digital library as a special library with a focused collection of digital objects that can include texts, visual materials, audio materials, video materials, called on the management and students of the institution to put the facilities into good use.
“It is my greatest hope that this facility will benefit the faculty and the students population in the quest to make this institution a centre of excellence”, he said.
In his welcome address, the Provost of the institution, Professor Isaac Olayinka Oyewole, who commended Governor Rauf Aregbesola on his selfless contributions towards rebuilding and repositioning the education sector, saying he is the first Governor to achieve such giant strides in infrastructural development in the state.
Professor Oyewole disclosed that the modern e-library building was constructed under Tertiary Education Trust Fund Special Library Grant 2010 at the cost of N140m
Professor Oyewole pointed out that the new library was designed to be able to accommodate 2000 users at a time, emphasizing that with the new transformation, the institution can conveniently boast of housing the modern digital library unit.
He said the new library building was constructed to fulfill the need for more reading space to complement the existing one, nothing that the steps was also taken in fulfillment of the greater demand of the NCCE Accreditation Panel.
According to him, “the edifice houses e-library section with 300 computer units, one big comuter server, 5KVA inverter, a local Area Network that connects all the units of the library together.
“Currently it is equipped with reading tables and chairs to seat about 1000 users at a time. It also houses 25,000 textbooks and reference materials with about 9,000 academic journals.
“It contains 12,000 past student projects and about five year old newspapers and magazines.
Professor Oyewole further noted that the new library can accommodate a reprographic unit where users can make photocopies of document at moderate charges, explaining that the e-library was used to conduct Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMP Computer Based Test.
Professor Oyewole further revealed that the newly constructed lecture hall is a 2010/2011 merger TETFund intervention to cater for the poor accommodation for lectures, hence, helps to complement the existing lecture halls in the college.
He said the lecture hall was designed to accommodate 500 students at a time, saying the new hall was constructed under TETFUND Special Grant at the cost of N34,497,886.50.
The Provost therefore appealed to the state government not to relent in supporting the school especially in some of the challenging areas which include poor road network and dilapidated staff quarter.
Earlier, the Chairman, Governing Council, OSSCE, Mr. Niyi Akande, who described Governor Aregbesola as a true democrat, said Aregbesola has been using his noble discretion in ensuring that the college achieves a lot of development within the shortest possible time.
He assured the state of the institution’s commitment in achieving the transition of the college to a degree-awarding institution.
Enumerating some of the council’s achievements, Mr. Akande said the council has performed tremendously in rescuing the college’s land from trespassers, cleansing students’ admission processes, discouraging exploitation of students, expanding opportunities for improved Internally Generated Revenue of the college.
He noted that the construction of the ongoing classroom-blocks and offices will greatly facilitate the college’s transition to a degree-awarding institution as being inspired.
Mr. Akande lamented over some of the challenges facing the institution, saying for the last seven years, the college has not been able to hold any graduation ceremony because the results of the examinations taken by its students over those years are not released.
“This council right from the first day it visited the college on June 14, 2013, saw its job well cut for meaningful physical development of the institution as the decadence observed in the traditional ways of doing things had changed.
“Our belief was that in the wake of such attitudinal change could we break the prevailing culture of impunity which was holding the college by the jugular, thereby choking it so much that the college had become comatose at the time of our appointment.
“We thank Mr. Governor for his understanding of our position and for lending us a shoulder to cry upon during the endless crises we have gone through in the last three years in the service of the college”, he added.
Mr. Akande urged the state government to help the institution in addressing the fundamental problems facing it.