.. As school prioritize farming, sports

By Collins Dupson, 20 January, 2022

Mr. Okeowo Ogunleye is the Principal of Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure in Ondo State. While chatting with the PATH, he speaks on the school’s 2nd term resumption, payment of WAEC fees by the government, return of VPs to classroom among other issues.

What are your projections as school across the state begins 2nd term?

We want to bless the name of the Lord for sparing our lives to witness another beautiful year. You met us having our statutory meeting where we discussed pressing issues affecting the school, staff and students. We resumed officially today, 10th January, 2022 and without wasting time, we have mapped out all our strategies for the term. In the meeting, I put before my teachers and other staff all we intend to achieve this term. We started the term with prayer; follow by statutory meeting, with aim of preparing for academic success and excellent.

Are you saying with the statutory meeting, the staff is well prepared for 2nd term resumption?

Exactly; I have already briefed them on the need to be more serious and put more effort like before. My teachers are very hardworking, what I am doing is charging them to put more effort so that our students will perform better and pass the forthcoming WAEC with flying colors.

Aside academic exercise, is there any extra curriculum activities for the term?

Definitely yes; the last time we met the Honourable Commissioner for Education, he charged us on sporting activities, asking us to embarked on serious sporting activities; as it stands today, we are actually going into it. I have already told my students sporting competitions in volleyball, football, lawn tennis, table tennis among other sports we are going to focus on. It is no going to be academic exercise alone this term, our students we be actively involved in sports.

Aside sports, farming is another area we are going to focus on; by the special grace of God, we are going to invest massively on farming. It is going to be full farming among our students. We have the resources, vast land and piggery. In the 90’s, Oyemekun used to produce food items for the boarding students and we are going back to those old good days in farming. We have started already; throughout last year, we didn’t buy okro, vegetables, tomatoes, it was all harvested from the school for boarding students consumption.

What is your reaction to the payment of WAEC fees by the government?

In fact, if you have access to Mr. Governor, do tell him that I am on my knees thanking him for this good gesture. We are very happy; the students, the parents, even the teachers are very happy with the payment. As we all know, the economy of the country is so bad that many parents find it difficult to pay school fees talk less of paying N20,000 for WAEC registration. Our Arakunrin has done it again, just like what he did last year, paying WAEC fees of almost 90,000 students. In Oyemekun alone, we have 400 students last year and this year, we are registering about 500 students. Government coughs out a whopping sum of N515m to pay for final year students across the state. I want to thank our Mr. Talk and Do governor for coming to the aids of the parents. He promised to pay for the WAEC fees and he has redeemed it. Some parents doubted the possibility of the payment but Arakunrin has proved that he is a Talk and Do governor. May God continue to be with Mr. Governor as he is doing everything possible to restore the glory of education back to the state?

How did your Vice Principals reacted to the government directive asking them to return to the classroom?

As we all know, education is a project on its own. I just mentioned that, Mr. Governor budgeted N515m for WAEC alone and when you invested in a project, you will do everything possible to ensure it success. The Governor meant well for education in the state, that is why you see him investing hugely in the sector. After our meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, I informed my Vice Principals of the government directive and none of them objected, it is a government instruction that must be adhered to. If going back to the classroom is the sacrifice our education needs, we are ready and have no objections. The PS assured us that, as soon as more teachers are recruited, the VPs will only concentrate on administrative duties. As it stands today, no objections from my Vice Principals, we are supporting government on this. It is a welcome development, welcome idea and decision taken by the government to bring more hands to our classroom. Occasionally as a principal, I do go to class to teach, likewise my vice principal even before this new directive.

Government is looking at the possibility of recruiting more teachers soon, in which subject areas is the school lacking teachers?

We want to thank Mr. Governor again for redeeming the pledged he made last year to recruit 2000 teachers in the primary sector. This year, he has remembered us at the secondary level, promising to employ additional teachers for the secondary school; I have no doubt in my mind, our Talk and Do Governor will do it sooner than later. On the subject the school is having shortage of teachers; they are many; subject like Physics, Chemistry, English, Mathematics, CRK and more. I am very optimistic that government will soon come to our aids.

On the proposed recruitment, is there any consideration for the PTA teachers?

On our PTA teachers, we presented our proposal to the government on the need to consider qualified teachers among them for recruitment. We have about eight of them in our school. Honourable Commissioner has given us his words that the qualified among them will be considered. We are not saying all of them will be considered but the ones with required teaching qualifications should be absolve into teaching profession.

What is your message to the students, parents and teachers?

To my students, they must be studious and see their education as priority. They should abide with the rules and regulations of the school. Bullying, fighting, extortion and improper dressing are punishable offences in the school. We have rules and regulations guiding students conduct, they must adhere to it strictly. The parents need to commend the effort of the present government in education and realize that government alone can’t do it; it requires the collaboration of every stakeholder to restore the loss glory of the sector. Some parents do come to the school to fight teachers for reprimanding their children, all these should stop. It is our duties to mould the lives of these children and correct them where necessary; rather than coming to the school to fight us, we need to be commended. Let’s my workaholic teachers double their efforts, go to classes as and when due, be punctual, write lesson notes and submit to HoDs and shun laziness. I want to use this medium to appreciate the government on the huge investment in education sector; like Oliver Twist, we need more teachers and I know Mr. Governor will give approval soonest.

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