From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Worried by the rising incidents of kidnapping of students in schools by bandits in some parts of the country, the Government of Ogun State says it has deployed security guards to beef up security in all its schools across the state.
State Governor Dapo Abiodun disclosed this on Tuesday evening when he received members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Basic Education, led by its Chairman, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, when they paid him a courtesy visit in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Governor Abiodun said that he had to approved employment and deployment of security men to all the public schools as part of measures to ensure security of pupils and students.
He noted that his administration would not want to be reactive on the issue of security in schools and ensure that not only our children are safe, but their teachers also.’
The governor informed the committee that about 600 schools would be rehabilitated across the state as part of efforts to provide conducive environment for teaching and learning before the end of his first term in office.
Governor Abiodun described the condition in which children learn as ‘deplorable’, saying though his administration has invested so much on infrastructure in the education sector, much work still needed to be done to achieve the desired result.
‘In spite of the much we have done, each time I see some news items on the television or newspaper about one school whose roof is about to fall, I say to myself when will we cover all these schools? And we have rehabilitated so many schools. Having a conducive environment for our children to learn remains our priority. Our target is that by the end of our first four years in office, we would have done about 600 schools by giving them a facelift.
‘We are also in the process of awarding contract for the construction of 60,000 furniture so that our children can sit comfortably while learning,’ the governor stated.
He disclosed that an Education Trust Fund, where certain percentage of fund would be dedicated to, had been created, to have a pool of fund to deploy to the sector.
While declaring that basic education would continue to receive priority, Governor Abiodun said a committee had been put in place to monitor and evaluate projects being executed in the state with grants from the UBEC.
Earlier, Prof Ihonvbere had lauded the state for paying its 2018, 2019 and 2020 counterpart fund, noting that the state still has about N2.7 billion to access from UBEC.
While disclosing that the federal government had spent about N375 billion on provision of basic education in the last 10 years, the House Committee Chairman said his committee was in Ogun as part of its oversight function to see what the state has been able to do with UBEC grants, identify best practices as well as lessons it could take to other states.
He noted that basic education was going through some turbulent times in some parts of the country as a result of activities of bandits and kidnappers, Ihonvbere commended the the government for emphasising on quality, functional and technology-driven education, urging it to construct parameter fence, provide water and continue to rehabilitate dilapidated schools in the state.