(Snippet from a radio presentation on Knowledge Economy at cruise FM 92.7, Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State)
It is a well known fact Ekiti State is regarded as the “Fountain of Knowledge” and the people have a natural prowess for intellectual inclinations.
An Ekiti person has penchant for accumulation of academic laurels or qualifications.
However, they are not Socialites and no level of education is considered enough for an Ekiti indigene.
The people of Ekiti State are not too sophisticated, but are in constant touch with reality and intellectual skills. They are by nature, Bibliophile (bookworms).
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, a technocrat, a visionary leader and an advocate of qualitative education, who has an understanding that knowledge has become an engine of social, economic and cultural development in today’s world, sees a logical need to turn knowledge to primary product in which the people of Ekiti State can trade successfully by using brilliance to promote sustainable development in order to survive and thrive in today’s global economy.
The “knowledge economy” policy is one of the 5 policy pillar of Gov. Kayode Fayemi. It addresses how education and knowledge—that is, “human capital,” can serve as a productive asset to Ekiti State. This component of the economy relies greatly on intellectual capabilities instead of natural resources or physical contributions.
Gov. Fayemi’s “knowledge economy” policy focus on Skills development, research, teaching, creative art, strengthening tertiary institutions and educational entrepreneurship.
Governor Fayemi in his effort to ensure that Ekiti State shifts from an economy basically based only on capital and labour, to “knowledge economy”, is giving Ekiti State education system adequate attention.
Governor Kayode Fayemi has achieved a lot in the aspect of improving the lots of our students with the “knowledge economy” policy, I would have want to list all but for want of time, I will list just a few:
1. Gov. Fayemi ensured that the educational system is flexible and this made it easy for the state to implement the strategy of transitioning to a “knowledge economy”.
The flexibility can however be seen in the exponential increase in the enrollment figures in the primary, secondary and technical schools in Ekiti state from 106,271 pupils in primary schools in 2018 when he took office to 140,518 pupils in 2020, being 2 years after; 85, 681 in secondary schools in 2018 when he took offfice to 109, 542 pupils in 2020, being 2 years after; and 240 students in technical college in 2018 when he took office to 910 students in 2020, being 2 years after.
2. Mr. Governor came up with new education policies that ensured that all students have the ability to increase in knowledge via information and communication technology by mandating the teaching of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) across schools in Ekiti.
3. Encouragement of our students: As part of Mr Governor’s effort to promote knowledge, appreciate students and consolidate on Ekiti’s legacy on education, Governor Fayemi awarded bursaries and scholarships to undergraduate, Masters and PhD students. As somebody who believes in ability in disability, the physical challenged are not left out of this kind gesture of His Excellency.
Recruitment of graduate and NCE teachers into Ekiti State primary school through SUBEB, release of N28m for special intervention lessons for SS2 and 3 students in 2018/2019 Session, distribution of 554 HP laptops to public secondary schools are not left out.
The Governor also ensured distribution of science textbooks to all public secondary schools, quarterly seminar and workshop for teachers across all 16 LGAs, provision of science equipment worth N109m for public secondary schools and the construction of an e-library by Texaco at St Augustine Oye Ekiti that will contain 45 computers, e-library server and other multimedia/active devices.
4. Automatic employment for 43 graduates of College of Medicine to boost doctor/patient ratio. This way, our students are motivated to work very hard, knowing that an educated society is a society that is ready to impart its world. With this initiative, he has put to falsehood the idea being filtered into the hearts of our youths, which is that “Education is scam”. Under Fayemi, that is not true, going by this automatics employments of our deserving graduates.
5. After a careful study, Gov. Fayemi saw that the number of pupils-to-teacher ratio were high and hence a need to decongest some public secondary schools. in for efficiency and as well ensure our children go to school and become the best of what they aspire to be in life, he built four model secondary schools in Ado Ekiti.
The schools were named after four prominent sons of this state: Chief Deji Fasuan, Prof Banji Akintoye, Prof. David Oke and Senator Ayo Fasanmi. The four model schools established by the government in Ado Ekiti metropolis.
6. Establishment of University of Education, Science and Technology: The university of Education, Science and Technology that Gov. Fayemi just established through the upgrading of the College of Education, Ikere Ekiti, will improve learning and create avenue to expose people especially our youths to modern training in education. The only thriving industry that had earned us national and global respect is education, nothing is considered too big for Me. Governor to invest in education, all for the good of our teeming youths, the leaders of tomorrow, the future of our dear State.
7. Free education policy: Free education was provided up to secondary level at all public schools in the state, schools’ tax and levies in both public and primary schools had been cancelled and the government paid N227m for 2019 SSCE and UTME examination fees for all SSCE students in all public schools in the state. All these happened under Governor Fayemi. This is a record I dare say that no other Governor in this State has achieved yet.
8. Massive support for education: The State made payment for core subjects and rural allowance to teachers in the rural areas. To this end, N140m was released as running grants to public schools monthly, N200 million was released as car loan to teachers, the Ekiti State Technical Colleges to global standard was upgraded with the support of the World Bank in the three senatorial districts to boost technical education.
9. Conducive learning environment: There is free education in all Technical Schools, free feeding for all public primary school children from Primary 1 – 3 (Ekiti Kete School Meal), distribution of Instructional materials, Science and ICT equipment of school libraries. Ongoing renovation of public schools across Ekiti State and approval has been given for the establishment of more secondary schools in Ado Ekiti with facilitation of three Command Secondary Schools for Ekiti State.
Quite a lot has been done in the aspect of education. The perimeter fencing of over 64 public schools were done, the School of Agricultural Sciences in Isan Ekiti State was revived.
10. Exploits in the field of education: Ekiti State University graduated 43 medical students after 10 years, EKSUTH College of Medicine got full accreditation by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and 8,075 units of furniture, 3,375 units of metal legged students’ lockers and chairs and 4,150 teachers’ tables and chairs were distributed for students.
11. Resuscitation of Ekiti Knowledge Zone: In order to further strengthen the “knowledge economy” policy, Gov. Fayemi made it known in his 2021 New Year broadcast that Ekiti Knowledge Zone which was established during his first term in office will be resuscitated.
It is suffice to say that involvement of education in economic growth occurs through creation of new knowledge and transfer of knowledge and information.
Looking at all these exploits and efforts, it is very clear that very soon our students will be competing with their international pairs than ever.
I give you an international example, Malaysia for instance,
Malaysia is one of the countries that bet on education and training as a means to achieve high growth rates, and the high proportion of university graduates and higher school graduates compared to its neighbors reflects this bet, especially so-called learning by doing. It has been in advanced positions from year to year in the recent period.
His Excellency, Governor Fayemi is doing greatly for our students and for our youths via the “knowledge economy” policy.
He is a workaholic Governor, who has been working tirelessly, day and night, since the onset of this his administration to make sure he delivers on his mandate and on his campaign promises.
In fact, he is beginning to achieve more than he promised. You know he is a reserved person whose daily zeal is less noise and getting the job of governance done 101%, yes, he likes to go the extra mile.
He is indeed a blessing to the Ekiti State. Via the “knowledge economy” policy, youth restiveness is at its lowest point as he has been able to make education, as against thuggery and criminality which he met when he took office in 2018; the primary priority of our youths and dear children of Ekiti State.
God bless His Excellency, Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Long live Ekiti State,
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Seyi Ogunsanmi is an indigene of Ekiti State and a postgraduate student of the prestigious University of Abuja.