How Osun education ministry deprived students free summer classes

The ministry of Education in Osun State have prevented scores of students across the 110 wards that make up Osun West Senatorial District from accessing public schools within this district to benefit from a six-week free summer classes organised by a Chieftain of the major opposition political party, People’s Democratic Party, Omooba Dotun Babayemi.
In what appeared like playing politics with education and future of the affected students in the senatorial district, the ministry of education of the All Progressives Congress led administration had already approved the use of the public schools for the free coaching before it reversed the approval, claiming that the government wanted to repair the schools.
For the last four years, the people of Osun West Senatorial District have benefited
from free health and free qualitative summer coaching through the Alaafia Dotun foundation, which was set up by Omooba Babayemi.
The foundation organises annual free summer classes for students of both public and private schools in the ten local governments that make up the Senatorial District after
seeking and obtaining approval from the Ministry of education for the last four
years. In July and August 2018, Omooba Babayemi again organised the free
coaching classes where thousands of students benefitted.
But the story changed after Babayemi dumped APC for Action Democratic Party before returning to PDP early 2019 after bickering in the APC over the candidature of Osun West Senatorial in the last General Elections
 Babayemi had sought the approval of the Osun state Ministry of Education to use some public schools for the 2019 edition of the free summer classes and an approval was given via a letter dated 24th July 2019 and signed by one O.O Adeyeye on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Festus  Olajide.
Based on this approval, Babayemi, through his foundation and with the support of
the PDP leadership in Osun put together all logistics and had commenced classes
in all the 28 centers with an average of 300 students registered in each of the
schools.
But another letter dated 6th August 2019 emanated from the office of the permanent secretary, Osun State Ministry of Education
terminating the prior approval based on what the government called “logistic”
issues which involves repairs of schools.
A part of the disapproval letter which was sent to Babayemi’s foundation reads, “due to some logistics which involve repairs of various classrooms, the earlier approval which was given for the use of classrooms for you to organise free summer coaching classes has been suspended pending the conclusion of the repair works.”
As at the time of filing this report, the purported repair of the classrooms was yet to commence when our correspondent visited some of the schools in the senatorial district.
Our correspondent gathered that some students could not benefit from the free summer classes because alternative venues that the foundation sought were far to them.
Reacting, Babayemi said “the
purpose of this initiative is to take these school children off the streets and get them
engaged academically during the long holiday which has been done successfully in
the last couple of years with quality coaching preparing them ahead of the new
school session.
“However, with this partisan decision from the Osun state Government, these
innocent children, mostly from poor family backgrounds across Osun West
Senatorial District, will be denied this opportunity of free qualitative education
for six weeks.
The APC government in Osun has for the last few years to date introduced and
implemented a fee for education across board for all children via the backdoor
scheme of education tax. Students are not allowed to stay in school irrespective of
their family financial status while the government just keeps building and
commissioning structures called mega schools worth billions of naira and getting
poor families to pay for their ineptitude via a backdoor policy of education tax.
“The state government should remember that education is important to the
development of any society and as such, stop playing blind politics with the future
of innocent children in Osun West Senatorial District.”
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Ekene Agbor

I am a journalist, a media consultant, a gender parity and innovation advocate, a grammarian, and a professional MC.

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