ONDO State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, no doubt, assumed leadership of the state three years ago well prepared. He took over the wheel of the state’s vehicle with a defined destination in focus.
Mimiko was determined to turn the lives of the citizens of the state around for good by ensuring that his government made impact on the people in every areas of endeavour. The governor is very passionate about some sectors for strategic reasons. One of the so loved sectors is education. The reason for this is simple. It is the only foundation upon which every other sector can lean on to make an impact, hence his decision to ensure that finance would not be an hindrance to good and qualitative education in his state.
Thus, on assumption of office, the governor never pretended about his preference for education and his belief that it is the hub of every other growth.
At the time Mimiko took over government, the state of education in the Sunshine state was not totally healthy, especially at the foundation level. The confidence of the people in public schools had gone to all time zero while Teachers preferred to trade in schools rather than do the job they were hired to do.
The development was a cause for worry for governor Mimiko who immediately set in motion measures to revive the dwindling educational trend.
One of the action plans at the time was provision of infrastructures which have led to the turnaround in the building of schools in the state. This intervention brought about the emergence of the now famous Meg and Model Schools.
To make the infrastructural intervention meaningful, the government went further with another form of corrective measure when it set up of a Quality Assurance Agency ( QED )in the sector. Tagged: Quality Education Assurance, the concept is fashioned after the conventional school inspection model inherited from the British Colonial government.
Buoyed by its strong commitment to the provision of free and qualitative education to the citizenry, the government equipped the agency with the necessary tools and evaluators who are saddled with the responsibility of supervising schools by constant visitations, assessment of the curriculum to ensure that standard are maintained in public schools.
Some of the responsibilities of the agency include systematic monitoring and evaluation of the curricular activities of schools, particularly, teaching and learning.
The brief of the agency also include collection, analysing and interpretation of data collected from monitoring and evaluated activities to make objective decisions for improved education service delivery, implementation of necessary remedial action to improve teachers’ l practices and students’ learning outcomes.
It’s also the responsibility of the agency to give feedback to stakeholders affected by the education programme geared towards the achievement of stated curricular objectives. This is for the purpose of maintaining quality teaching and learning process in schools.
Like every endeavour of the Mimiko administration, the agency’s purposes are being achieved and beneficiaries of its services are already counting their gains.
Very transparent and noticeable are these achievements that neighbouring states and the federal government are beginning to take special interest in its activities and have asked to come an understudy the workings of the agency to enable for its replications.
These achievements did not come by accident but by the determination of Governor Mimiko who always ensure that whatever he touches does not only turn to gold but also impact positively on the lives of the generality of the populace.
In the words of the Executive Secretary of the agency Mr Olajire Ale , Governor Mimiko is doing everything within his capability to ensure that the agency achieves its objectives adding that so far, the story remain sweet.
He divulged that the governor has supported the agency so well especially in the area of capacity building, thus making for in-depth capacity to make the agency key into global best practices, with working tools made available to make the agency’s work hitch free.
Apart from the befitting corporate office of the agency, it has 22 new Hilux pick up vans with one allocated to each of the 18 local governments in the state for effective monitoring of schools. The agency is expected to also take delivery of 2 Speed boats with which its field officers will penetrate schools in the river-rine areas. It also has 22 motorcycles for easy access to difficult terrains.
The elated Executive Secretary informed that Governor Mimiko has worked wonders with the Agency divulging further that tremendous changes have been recorded in the state’s public schools since the agency came into being.
The agency took off on the 18th of September 2010 and between then and now, all schools in the state have been visited by its inspectorate unit.. It was confirmed that no school in the state has been visited less than six times since the agency started work. Prior to this time, most schools in the state have not been visited for inspection in over ten years.
According to the agency’s topmost official, the cornerstone of its operation is to carry out school evaluation. He also placed it on record that Mimiko’s government is the first to make the inspectorate department of its Education Ministry an autonomous body adding that the result of this initiative is already being recorded.
As a result of the success recorded so far by the agency, neighbouring states
like Ekiti, Osun and Oyo as well as the federal inspectorate services officers are already on study tour to Ondo state to enable them learn the formula of the Agency that has helped shot up the educational profile of students in the state.
Of note is the comment of the National Consultant to the Federal Ministry of Quality Education Assurance, Professor Bolaji Ogunsanya who described the operation of the Ondo state Quality Education Assurance Agency as “ reality per excellence and in conformity to what the Federal Ministry of Education is preaching.”
Also acknowledging the fruitfulness of the Ondo State Quality Education Assurance Agency in terms of educational reform ,Dr. EG Kutara, Director Federal Inspectorate Services described the agency as “ highly impressive in its organisation and operation”
The effect of the operation of the outfit has become so noticeable and infectious to the extent that Universities have been approaching it for understudy programmes. As a result of its transparent achievement, one of its staffs, Dr Ayeni has become an institution reviewer on quality assurance for reputable schools.
Governor Mimiko, being the initiator of the idea, is also getting the deserved attention as he has been invited to address the forum of state governors on Quality Education Assurance Control because of his transparent commitment to the programme .
Students and Pupils of schools in the state are already counting their blessings because of the ripple effect of the activities of the agency.
In the last West Africa Examination Council( WAEC) written in the country, Ondo state got the best candidate with 9 distinctions through a student of St Louis Grammar School, Ondo.
The state also has the record of the second best Post JAMB candidate in 2011 at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife.
In the last edition of Mathematics Olympiad competition, Ondo state was one of the two states with the best performance.
Apart from the rate of examination malpractices that has come to zero level in the state, the volume of entries into public schools have also shot up considerably.
With the increasing confidence being reposed on public schools in the state, it is believed also that by the time the many Mega Schools recently built by the Mimiko administration come into use, the work of the Agency will be more pronounced because in the permutations of stake holders, the new structures being erected for schools will enhance performance of the Mimiko initiative in the area of education.