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INTERVIEW: Akeredolu Deserves Commendation Over Payment of WAEC Fees- Ogunleye

Mr Ogunleye Okeowo is the principal of Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure, Ondo State. The award winning principal speaks on his return to the school as the Head teachers, dual awards from the media, achievement within the shortest period, Governor Akeredolu investment in education sector among others.

Can you give a brief insight into your background?

I was born some years back; I had my elementary education in Kwara State and O’Level at Oshogbo Grammar School; OSCARS in Ile Ife for my HSC before proceeding to the University to study Political Science. After my graduation in 1990, I had my compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) in Ogun State. Immediately after my service year, I was employed by the Ondo State Teaching Service Commission in 1992 and posted to Ekamarun in Ifon where I spent a year before I was transferred to Oyemekun Grammar School in 1993. I came to Oyemekun as a young graduate and I served in the school for 17 years before I was transferred to St Louis Grammar School Akure. In 2014, I was transferred to CAC Grammar School and later posted out of Akure as Vice Principal but as God will have it, today I am the principal of the school where I served as classroom teacher for 17 years.

As a Political Scientist by training, how did you find yourself in the classroom?

To be sincere, I never thought of teaching; all my intention was to either work in the Ministry of Internal Affairs or Ministry of External Affairs but man proposes, God confimed. I started developing interest in teaching while serving as Corp member at Ifo High School in Ogun State. On getting to the school, the Principal appointed me as the School Game Teacher. Under my tutelage, for the first time in the history of the school, we won the principal’s Competition; it was a record setting moment for the school, the community and the then governor. With this my record breaking feat, I was offered automatic teaching job by the governor, but because I wanted to work in my state, I left Ifo to Akure after a month of my service year.

Do you have any regret being a teacher?

At all, no regret whatsoever; the joy of moulding the life of the younger generation cannot be underestimated. Teaching my students and doing what their parents can’t do, make me a fulfilled man. Whenever I impacted knowledge into the students, I always feel happy. If you might know, if I come to this world again, I will still choose teaching above other professions.

As a major stakeholder in the state education sector; what is your assessment of Governor Akeredolu in the sector?

Without mincing words, Governor Akeredolu has done tremendously well in education sector. We are all living witnesses to the pitiable condition of our primary schools but as of today, the story has changed. Governor Akeredolu has built state of art schools with perimeter fencing. I was amazed when I visited my village recently, one particular primary school that had been abandoned for years has been renovated with fencing. Aside this, he has employed close to 2000 teachers into primary school and the secondary school recruitment is under way. Under this administration, we have won laurels and awards, all these were made possible due to the huge government investment in education sector.

On the employment of more hands in the secondary school, what is your expectations from the government?

We have teachers in our classroom, though, it might not be adequate but we have it on good authority that government is making frantic effort to recruit additional hands. I am assuring my colleagues that Mr Talk and Do Governor will do the needful very soon. He has just recruited into Primary school, the next recruitment is going to the secondary school. All we need to do is to exercise patience with the governor.

How commendable is the WAEC fees paid by Governor Akeredolu?

It takes a governor with human’s face to budgeted such huge amount of money for the WAEC of the secondary students; considering the overall total of the students across the 18 Local Governments, Akeredolu deserves our commendations. In my school alone, we have 550 students registered for the exam, meaning not less than N5m will be paid for my senior students. This is just a school, so, statewide, government will spend above N500m on WAEC fees. Everybody needs to commend the huge investment of Akeredolu led administration in Education Sector.

How do you feel with your double awards from the media?

I feel humbled and fulfilled. I have to thank God for using the publisher of Education Monitor and Today’s News to honoured me. The media organisations must have seen what I couldn’t see but their search light located me and today I can boast anywhere, anytime that teaching job is rewarding. When the awards were presented to me, I felt I have been fulfilled in the teaching profession.

Within the shortest period in the saddle, what has your leadership done to complement the already existing structure?

I might not be able to tell you everything I have done within the available time I have spent as the principal, you owe me a duty to project the school as a media person. Rolling our achievements, people might think I am exaggerating. Peaceful environment is very paramount for development to take place. Any administrator that manage Oyemekun community for six months successfully without crisis needs to be commended; relative peace is the mother of all achievement. Also, our students are doing well in the area of academic excellence; we won completions and recorded flying colour in our examinations. In the last result, we presented 350 Students out, 325 passed with Six Credit In English and Maths. This has shown that Mr Governor investment in education is yield positive results. When you go round the school premises, we embarked on different projects with the help of the Old Boys, these people are wonderful. The government too has been good to us with regular posting of teachers to our school.

Your final words?

I am using this medium to charge every student to be studious and see education as their future. They shouldn’t be part of the bad boys and cultists. Teachers played vital roles in moulding students lives and they should continue in that regards. They should endeavor to impact knowledge into the life of the students. Any parent that want better future for their children will not fight teachers nor abuse them. To the governor, we are like Oliver Twist, we are appealing to the government to pay teachers salary as at when due, recruit more hands, renovate dilapidated building among others.

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