Aregbesola explaining Opon Imo at Havard
Aregbesola explaining Opon Imo at Havard
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the state of Osun has explained the rationale behind the introduction of digital tablets to secondary school pupils in the state saying the concept is his government’s ingenious way of changing how knowledge is imparted.
Opon Imo, an i-Pad-like tablet is to be distributed to about 150,000 students of secondary schools in the state to prepare for their examinations as from March.
The governor, before an elated audience of academia at the prestigious Weatherhead Centre for International Studies of the renowned Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the United States, delivered a lecture titled Nigeria: The Development Challenge.
It is part of the activities lined up for his one week working visit to the United States.
Aregbesola told the gathering, “As part of our education reform, starting from next month, we are introducing Opon-Imo, an IPad-like computer tablet, which is a smart electronic teaching aid, to our secondary school students. This tablet is pre-loaded with 17 subjects that students offer during West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in the form of lesson notes and textbooks. It also contains six extra-curricular subjects in sex education, civic education, Yoruba history, Yoruba traditional religion, computer education and entrepreneurship education.
Explaining the content of the device, Aregbesola said, “Also to be included in it is 10 years past questions and answers to be provided by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
“The tablet has bridged the gap of carrying books in sacks, their wear and tear and subsequent replacement and also provides ready learning tools. Opon Imo neither has internet connectivity nor does it interface with other devices in order not to distract the students. Knowing that power is still a problem, especially in rural areas where there is no electricity, a solar charger will be supplied with it.
“Through this initiative, the state government seeks to expose pupils of its senior secondary schools to information technology at an early age.
“Our investment in computer for secondary school pupils was born out of our conviction that the future belongs to the digital age and it will be disastrous if our youth are not prepared for this.”
Governor Aregbesola, who also lamented the poor spate of development in the country, said the colonial history of Nigeria could not be exonerated from her present predicament.
He said for the country to be able to get out of its present predicament. It must understand where it came from and how it got there.
And to do this self-assessment, he said the country and its leaders must return to the beginning, hence going back to the very foundation of the colonial period, when its under-development was laid.
The governor said the challenges and fruits of development hinge on how a nation strengthens its social institutions.
"The real fruits of development are the strength of state institutions for law enforcement, transportation, economic production, defence, knowledge production, arts and entertainment and cultural (and national power) projection.
"The challenge of development therefore is how a nation strengthens its institutions and mobilises its human resources to produce the fruits, not necessarily on the scale of United States, but on that which will guarantee the good life for its citizens.
"For us to be able to get out of our present predicament we must understand where we came from and how we got here. In order to do this we must begin from the beginning.
"Hence, it is well worth repeating the over-emphasised point that the foundation for Nigeria’s under development was laid in its colonial history.
"It was therefore the case that, at independence, what was handed over as a country was such a political and administrative liability that its consequences soon began to hunt and hurt its human constituents.
"These consequences were such that they operated to hamper the country’s capacity to leverage it’s widely acclaimed ‘huge potential’ for development. The numerous dimensions of our development challenge have been amply articulated," Aregbesola said.
He said that Nigeria is a developing country in so far as the extant parameters of income per capita, life expectancy, the rate of literacy and so on are low, compared to countries designated as developed.
Aregbesola thus identified some of the nation's developmental challenges to include ethnicity, structurally deficient federalism, prolonged military rule, religious and sectarian problem, inept leadership.
Above all, he lamented that military incursion in politics which he said affected all the fabrics of the nation's social institutions in no small measures.
He continued: "Worst still military rule in Nigeria has enthroned and embodied everything that was antithetical to the development of the country.
"Destructive dictatorship; repression of opposing but qualitative inputs into the political process; institutionalisation of pervasive corruption; devastation of the economy; spread of mass poverty; alienation of the population; militarisation of the polity; and perpetuation of divisions in society, are some of the damages inflicted by military rule on the country."
He noted that Osun, his state, offered peculiar challenges but what is common to all states of an underdeveloped country like Nigeria is unemployment.
He said his government had to quickly intervene to arrest the situation by employing 20, 000 youths within 100 days in office.
He said further: "Critical state intervention of this nature is necessary. I must let you know that this intervention re-inflated the economy of the state with immediate impact in every sector.
"The policy was so successful that the World Bank commended us, asked to understudy it and immediately recommended it as a model of youth engagement and mass employment for other states."