The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has described the speculation that the ongoing restructuring and reforms being carried out in all the state-owned tertiary institutions are aimed at retrenching workers as false and baseless.
The Governor also noted that the idea behind the reform exercise was not to witch-hunt but to bring up the quality of the lecturers.
Aregbesola said his administration will not do anything that will purposely inflict pains on workers, citizens and residents of the state.
Aregbesola stated these while addressing people during the official commissioning of N140 million E-Library and N34.4 million Ultra-Modern Lecture Hall of the Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun.
He pointed out that the era of when graduates from colleges of education will be looking for employments in other sectors will soon be over in the state.
He said such amounts to a loss for government and a waste of time for the students when it happens.
The Governor held that to discontinue with the practice of the past, hence the need for the restructuring of the school to have less fresh intakes, but include retraining for teachers as part of its core mission.
He added that Polytechnics and Colleges of Education will henceforth organise remedial instructions for secondary school leavers preparing for SSCE retake and admissions into higher institutions.
He said: “You will all agree that there have been many innovations in education and those still teaching with the knowledge they acquired 20 years ago have fallen behind time.
“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 puts to rest the false, unfounded and malicious speculation that the government is closing down these schools.
“The reforms must also bring up the quality of the lecturers.
“I must also add that the government has no intention of witch-hunting or victimising anyone for his or her religious, political or ideological leaning.
“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.”
Aregbesola added 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, stressing that he as a product of academic freedom cannot therefore poison the well from which he drank.
He however stated that freedom carries responsibility and that responsibility begins with critical self-examination.
The Governor averred that academic institutions should be capable of self-examination, leading to self-regeneration.
He noted that a critical mass must emerge from every institution, nudging it towards self-redefinition and self-correction in order to retain its relevance.
In his address, the Provost of the institution, Prof. Isaac Olayinka Oyewole, commended Governor Aregbesola on his selfless contributions towards rebuilding and repositioning the education sector, adding that he is the first governor to achieve such giant strides in infrastructural development in the state.
He pointed out that the new library was designed to be able to accommodate 2,000 users at a time, emphasising 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 computer 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 1,000 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.”
The Provost 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, adding that the new hall was constructed under TETFUND Special Grant at the cost of N34,497,886.50.
Earlier, the Chairman, Governing Council, OSSCE, 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.
Akande assured the state of the institution’s commitment in achieving the transition of the college to a degree-awarding institution.
Akande said the council has performed tremendously in rescuing the college’s land from trespassers, cleansing students’ admission processes and 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.
He said: “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.”