Reports and recommendations of the visitation panels set up by the Ondo state government for the four tertiary institutions in the state have not been handed over to the various institutions Governing councils, SUNSHINE HERALD can confirm.
This comes over a month after the state government said it had approved the recommendations, and will send same to the visitation panels immediately.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Olawunmi Ilawoye who spoke with journalists after the state executive council meeting held on July 2, said the council had approved the recommendations as part of moves of the Akeredolu led administration to reposition the four institutions in the state for optimal performance.
Ilawole said the council had looked into the recommendations of the panel on compliance of the institutions, financial management and staff development programs.
She said “A committee was set up to review the recommendations contained in the panel report. Some of the areas that the visitation panel looked at and which a white paper has been drafted and approved today bothered on the state of compliance of the Universities and Polytechnics with the approved status and programs and the laws that backed them up.
“This is to ensure that they properly position and tdeliver quality education to the citizens of Ondo State. Also, we try to look at the financial management of the Universities. We looked at subventions, and how adequate are the subventions and what the government is doing in order to improve on the income and revenue of these Universities
“We also looked at the adequacy of staff. We looked at staff development programs and a lot of all these recommendations will soon be out to use. It will be sent to the governing council of these state-owned institutions for implementation and in no short time, we are very sure, according to the vision of this administration, our four state institutions will be repositioned for optimal performance.”
This stand was also buttressed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Segun Ajiboye who confirmed that the reports had been sent to the institution’s in a chat with Leadership Newspaper.
He also questioned why the institutions have refused to implement the reports.
“The document is no longer with the governor again. The governor had approved the implementation of the report and handed it over to the schools for implementation. You should ask the schools why they are not implementing it, not the governor,” he was quoted as saying.
Speaking however with SUNSHINE HERALD, Chairman of the Governing Council of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, AAUA, Tunji Abayomi said the report was yet to get to him.
“I don’t have the visitation panel report, I don’t know anything about it, I haven’t received the visitation panel report,” he told our reporter.
When he was told the government said it has transmitted the reports to the governing councils of tertiary institutions in the state, he said, “It is possible, but I haven’t received it. It’s possible it has gone to the university, you know I’m the governing council chairman. It will now have to be forwarded by the university to the council. And so far, I haven’t gotten anything.”
The governor had set up the panels for Ondo state-owned, Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, AAUA, Ondo State University of Science and Technology, OSUSTECH, University of Medical Sciences UNIMED, Ondo and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo on November 21.
The panels were saddled with the following as the terms of reference:
To examine the state of compliance of the University/Polytechnic with the Statues and approved Programmes of study;
To examine the financial management of the University/Polytechnic including subventions, grants, loans and Internally Generated Revenue (IGRs) and determine their compliance with appropriate regulations;
To examine the adequacy of staff and staff development programmes of the University/Polytechnic;
To examine industrial relations amongst management, staff, and students and recommend ways to achieving lasting peace and harmony;
To examine the state of the landed properties and other assets of the University/Polytechnic;
To recommend measures and actions to reposition the University/Polytechnic for optimal performance.
The panel submitted its report to Governor Akeredolu January 26 this year.
While receiving the report, Akeredolu expressed optimism that the reports will bring solutions to the identified problems in the institutions.
He said, “having critically reviewed the various problems in the education sector during the education summit last year, we resolved to reposition the sector through a holistic approach, and close collaboration with the relevant stakeholders.
“We are resolved unequivocally to reposition our tertiary institutions with the vision to produce globally competitive professionals who will, in long run, be agents and drivers of development in our society.”
The governor also reiterated his administration’s commitment to deliver a 21st-century compliant tertiary education system with the limited resources available.
The panel chairmen while submitting their reports to the governor one after the other made some recommendations and findings that will assist the state government in repositioning the institutions.
Speaking on behalf of other panel chairmen, the chairman for Adekunle Ajasin University panel, Dr. Goke Adegoroye said a full-fledged stakeholder and sustainable development approach to the funding of all the state-owned institutions is imperative and has been duly recommended.
Meanwhile, many stakeholders in the education sector seem to be losing confidence and trust in the Akeredolu-led government over its alleged cold feet in the handling of the recommendations of the Visitation panel for implementation.
Information has it on a good ground that the recommendations were expected to contain issues ranging from repositioning of the various institutions, mis-governance, financial issues as regards petitions, over bloated employment into the institutions even after the inauguration of the Government.
Other expected recommendations border on cooperative societies’ deductions, school fees, student welfare. Staff issues, including illegal/unwarranted termination of appointments, withheld promotion, victimization and witch-hunting, and various matters surrounding the re-absorbed staff.
Of importance are subventions to the University and spending, award of contracts, inflation of contracts, financial recklessness, incompetency, moral ineptitude among others.
Unfortunately, the report which stakeholders believed would have finally laid to rest, many of the problems bedeviling higher institutions in Ondo state, are now being jettisoned by a government that had promised to reposition the education sector for better service delivery.
For now, observers believe that the release of the recommendation to the council chairs for implementation seem to be a tall dream as the body language of the government seems not to look at the direction of the stakeholders in the education sector.
As at today, recent happenings in various institutions in the State call for concerns as most workers are now living in fear of being victimized. Many of the workers and unions that submitted papers and memoranda to the visitation panel teams are now under threat and fear.
An example is a senior officer in the Bursary Department in one of the institutions who was locked out of his office as a result of the letter he was said to have submitted to the visitation panel. Another senior officer’s official car was also withdrawn for the same reasons. There were also numerous cases of lopsided redeployment of staff who were perceived not belong to the management’s unpopular side.
The situation in one of the institutions is even pathetic as many of the staff are said to be living from hand to mouth and even in bad health because of the inability to get paid by the management.
It is believed that things would continue to get worsened than envisaged if the government continues to pay lip services to critical issues as demonstrated in the implementation of recommendations of the reports of the Visitation Panels on Ondo State-owned higher institutions.