The Chairman of Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, said that the construction and rehabilitation of about 360 projects had commenced in the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
According to a statement from the Press Officer of the agency, Tolu Ogunjimi, the chairman was quoted to have made this disclosure in a brief chat with newsmen in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
He explained that the projects would be executed through the 2018-2019 Intervention Project Fund made available by the state and Federal governments and that the projects would be executed within three months.
Majekodunmi said the shortlisted contractors have received letters of Award of Contract to embark on the projects, adding that the project would cover the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms, toilet facilities, borehole installations, supply of furniture and e-library materials, among other essential components.
He urged the contractors to uphold the highest standards of specifications outlined in their Bill of Quantity, stressing the importance of ensuring the safety of the learners who would benefit from the projects across the state, warning that the agency would not tolerate substandard work.
Meanwhile, Majekodunmi lauded Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration for partnering with the Universal Basic Education Commission on the implementation of the School-to-Farm programme in primary and junior secondary schools.
He stated that the programme would help to revive the dying interest in agricultural practice among young learners.
He said he was delighted because the agricultural programme, by its design, is more practical than theory as the young learners would not only be taught about various agricultural practices but also have the opportunity to practise what they have been taught in class.
Speaking during an advocacy meeting of the Agriculture Education Training Programme at the Nigeria Union of Teachers’ Hall, Kuto, Abeokuta, the state capital; Majekodunmi noted that in recent years, the teaching of agriculture as a subject had been predominantly theoretical and less practical, saying the theoretical-based approach leaves most learners unaware of what some agricultural products look like, with no idea of how they are grown, harvested, processed or stored.
He said this agricultural education programme would introduce students to a variety of job prospects, including agribusiness, agro-technology, agricultural engineering, sustainable farming methods and rural development.
The state SUBEB boss said that under the programme, the students would get involved in poultry farming, animal husbandry, maize and cassava farming, among others, saying that one other lofty advantage of the programme is that it would impact food production in the country.
‘’To address this issue, UBEC has allocated a certain percentage of its grant to AETP in order to make Agricultural Science at the basic education level more practical and hands-on. The goal is to equip learners with the necessary skills to stimulate self-employment, provide them with functional entrepreneurship and life skills, promote the dignity of labour and self-esteem, and expose them to the biological processes of agriculture,” Majekodunmi said.
Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, represented by the Director of Primary Education in the state, Mrs Bamidele Makinde, said effective engagement of children at a young age in agriculture would help them learn other important aspects of life, as agriculture was based on the cycle of how things grow, live and die.
Abayomi advised education stakeholders to support the initiative, adding that it was part of the state government’s efforts to enhance learners’ interest in agricultural enterprises.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Headteacher-General for Remo Division, Mr. Kalejaiye Tunde, described the programme as well thought-out due to its capacity to expose the children to broad-based practicals in Agricultural practice
“We must thank the state government for this noble initiative. This is no doubt a welcome development. With this programme, our young learners will have a change of orientation as far as agricultural practice is concerned. They will no longer think that farming and all of that are for the illiterates, the poor or the never do well in the society.
“They will know that they could as well embrace any sector of agriculture later on in life. They will be exposed to practical training in agriculture and the overall effect of this is that these activities will eventually lead to a boost in food production among others,” Kalejaiye explained.