Being the remarks by His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State at the Commissioning of St Paul Primary School, Okutapemo, Iseyin LGA, on Monday, May 31, 2021
When we looked at the data for education after we got into office two years ago, two things stood out
- We had a huge number of out-of-school children. We had the highest number of out of school children in Southwestern Nigeria.
- Even those who were in school lacked proper facilities and a conducive learning environment.
As a product of the Nigerian public school system, I had also had some personal experience that gave insights into some of these challenges.
So, we had to come up with solutions that would address these challenges. One of the things we noticed immediately was that the number of out-of-school children was a symptom of a bigger problem. The problem of poor funding. So, one of the first things we did was to reverse the trend of poor budgetary allocation to education. We revised the budget we met and increased allocation to education from about 3% to 10%.
And when we made our own first budget, we allocated over 20% to education which surpassed the UNESCO recommended 15-20%. For the past two years, this has remained the standard. Education gets over 20% of our budgetary allocations.
A related problem was that basic education was suffering from poor infrastructure. The reason being that the funds for basic education is tied to a counterpart funding programme designed by the Federal Government. Any state that does not pay UBEC counterpart funds will not get UBEC matching grant and their development will suffer. We therefore paid counterpart funds of 1.51 billion Naira for 2019 and 2020 to enable us get matching grants.
So, when you hear that we completed over three hundred projects in education during our first year in office and this second year we have added another over three hundred projects, you will understand we are not just throwing around figures. These are verifiable projects.
This St Paul Primary School, Okutapemo, Iseyin that we are commissioning today is one of the 26 Model schools that we completed in the past one year. Another thing we have done is that we have ensured that the model schools are spread across all the zones in Oyo State. So, there is no zone left behind. And you can confirm that for yourself as we go from zone to zone commissioning projects over the week.
We want all our children to be in school. We want them to have access to quality education. That is why we are not just constructing buildings; the classes are equipped with furniture and we even go a step further to provide our children with textbooks and notebooks.
We are aware that one of the sure ways of lifting families out of poverty is giving the children access to education. And so, here in Oyo State, we have demonstrated that we place a premium on education. That is why education is one of the four pillars of our Road Map to Accelerated Development in Oyo State, 2019-2023.
So, I am happy with work we are doing in education and I thank all those who have contributed to the success story so far. We will continue to use data, science and logic to arrive at the best decisions that will positively affect the good people of Oyo State.
And on that note, I declare St Paul Primary School, Okutapemo, Iseyin commissioned to the glory of Good and the for benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
~Governor Seyi Makinde, May 31, 2021