Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Tuesday, said that his administration remains committed to digitalising the educational system in the state with a view to bringing about qualitative education and enhancing teaching and learning.
The governor equally stated that his administration is ready to partner with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) on quality education service delivery in the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor stated this while receiving a delegation of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the Universal Basic Education Commission led by the KOICA Country Director, Mr. Woochan Chang, at the Courtesy Room of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Ibadan.
The statement added that the KOICA delegation was in Ibadan to inspect on-going construction works on a Smart (Model) School Project being constructed by UBEC in Sogunro Village, along Moniya-Oyo Road, Akinyele Local Government Area.
While welcoming the delegation, Governor Makinde explained that as part of his administration’s determination to improve the standard of education in the state, his government has budgeted 21 to 22 per cent for education in the 2021 budget.
The governor said: “We have 21 to 22 per cent for education in our budget and it is unprecedented.”
He added: “I personally take special interest in the smart school project. I went to the project site and we will ensure that the quality meets international standards. I am glad that you are looking at interventions in ICT because e-governance is something we have also been looking at.
“With the pandemic, the challenges for us to take knowledge to our students became really compounded. So, what we have done in Oyo State, even at this secretariat, is to move towards e-governance. We have laid fiber-optic cables all around. We have bought computers and we are in the process of ensuring that our processes are moved towards e-governance where we are not going to be carrying files all over the place.
“We are doing the same thing at the primary and secondary school levels. We will prepare people for e-governance. The importance of moving everybody – both the students and teachers – to have appreciation of ICT became really hectic.
“You have our commitment as we have the SSG and Chairman of SUBEB to take you to our ICT Centre here. Before we came in, it was just a dream in the pipeline but we are now executing.”
The governor, who maintained that the on-going construction work on the Smart (Model) School project in Ibadan will be ready for commissioning in the next 8-10 weeks, said his administration has always put its money where its mouth is.
“In terms of putting our mouth where our money is, the budget performance for last year, close to 60 per cent is a clear departure from the past where budget performance was always around 35 or 36 per cent.
“I believe that this particular model school will start soon and we will be monitoring them. Like the chairman of SUBEB said, hopefully in the next 8-10 weeks, we should have the project ready for your intervention.
“This is me having the responsibility to ensure that our programmes for the improvement of education in the state are executed. I am here with you this morning, which is to demonstrate enough commitment at the highest level in paying attention to one of the major pillars for us.
“Again, for me personally, I am not an elite as I did not come from the Upper Class. I came from the lower-middle class and the only thing that brought me to the table was the fact that I got educated.
“So, you can rest assured that if you need to see me, it will be arranged quickly and we will do everything within our power as a government to ensure our students get the best in terms of education,” the governor said.
The governor added that his administration would like to collaborate with the South Korean government in the area of vocational and technical education in the state.
He said: “Quite frankly, we will love to have intervention programmes in our vocational and technical education as well, because we have a lot of our graduates either riding Okada or roaming the streets.
“Yes, they get a formal education but there is still a gap in terms of responsibility, and how they can easily just roll into the economy and make their contributions.
“I know that South Korea has been at the fore-front of technology. So, soft areas such as vocational and technical will be a good curriculum for us. These are areas that if we have partners willing and able to support us, we will demonstrate the seriousness that is required.
“In anything that you are doing with us, please feel free to carry out an audit to come back and see the sustainability of some of the things that you will do with us. You can rest assured, we will do everything within our power to give back confidence and to have that openness such that you also will be assured that your money is not being wasted.”
Earlier, the Country Director of KOICA CA), Mr. Chang, said that the agency is partnering with UBEC on the provision of multimedia equipment and facilities to the model school.
He said: “We are here on assessment. We’ve met the governor, SUBEB chairman and other education officials in the state. We are here for an on-the-site visit to the school construction area. We need to see how much the government and SUBEB are eager to utilise the investment for the future education in the state.
“We are representing the South Korea Government. We have supported many countries in the world. KOICA is supporting many countries in social and economic development. Basically, we promote digital performance and digital education in Nigeria. On the other hand, we have an interest in promoting ICT, digital education in Nigeria.”