Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on Tuesday apologised for the mistakes the state government might have made in the pursuit of its education reform initiative.
The governor tendered the apology at the stakeholders forum the state government convened in Ibadan on its education reform initiative, saying his administration had no intention of selling public schools.
Ajimobi admitted that his administration erred in requesting for a non-refundable fee of N250,000 from interested parties, placing advertorial for expression of interest without consultation and for not holding a pre-meeting session with stakeholders.
“I admit all the lapses that occurred in the presentation of the education initiative to the public. We made three mistakes which I admit.
No man is perfect but we don’t have any intention of selling or returning schools to its former owners. I apologise to all stakeholders because the buck stops on my table.
We appeal to all stakeholders, particularly the labour unions and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to embrace dialogue,” he said.
The governor said that the deteriorating state of education in the state much be reversed, adding that all stakeholders must support government’s initiative.
Ajimobi said that the essence of the forum was for stakeholders to brainstorm on possible ways to improve the quality of education.
The governor called on stakeholders to submit their recommendations in form of a proposal to the Ministry of Education on or before June 30th.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and Olubadan of Ibadanland , Oba Saliu Adetunji, in their separate remarks, commended government for the initiative, saying the standard of education must be uplifted.
Oba Samuel Adegbola, the Eleruwa of Eruwa, on his part, urged government to ensure the people were properly informed on the new initiative.
Similarly, Alhaji Kunle Sanni, the Chairman, Muslim Community of Oyo State, said that the forum ought to have been organised before the advertorial for expression of interest was placed in the newspapers.
Rev. J.A Ajetunmobi, the Bishop of Ibadan South Anglican Communion, urged government to ensure that the levy it introduced was used in developing the schools.
He also reiterated the call for the return of mission schools to the former owners.
Professor Moji Oyebola, a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, urged government to ensure that teachers and other workers in the state were promptly and adequately paid their salaries.
She also stressed the need for regular inspection of schools and incentives for workers to promote maximum productivity.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the government presentation was done by the Head of Service, Soji Eniade, and Ronke Makanjuola, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
NAN reports that the state government had listed five models of reform, citing them as Management Services, Professional Services, Support Services, Government Purchasing Programme and Infrastructure Services.
Government had also urged all stakeholders to study the various models or evolve any new one that would help in promoting quality education in the state.