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The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has ordered the sacking of six officials of the state Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, including a secondary school teacher, over alleged offensive examination question.
Those sacked include two Grade Level 17 officers, Mrs. Folashade Oresegun, who was the Director, Education Support Services, and Mr. Rotimi Odunsi, who was the Director, Curriculum Development and Evaluation, and a Grade Level 16 officer, Mr. Majekodunmi Oluwole.
Others are a Grade Level 10 officer, Mr. E.O. Asegbe, a Grade Level 8 officer, Taylor Damilola , and an English Language teacher in Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne, Mr. Joel Adegbenro.
The sacking of both Oresegun and Odunsi has been converted to compulsory retirement while the four others were summarily dismissed.
Our correspondent gathered that their offence might not be unconnected with a comprehension passage in the English Language examination conducted by the ministry for the Unified Examination in Public Secondary Schools for the third term of the 2014/2015 academic session.
The offensive section was Section C, where the pupils were asked to summarise a comprehension passage on a policy defect on education.
It was alleged that it was considered too critical of the state government.
The section partly read, “There is no arguing about the fact that the government is merely paying lip service to the development of education. It is true that a lot of money is being spent on the education sector but with little or no impact felt by the people, except where we want to deceive ourselves.
“Many schools run by the government, which were formerly known for academic excellence have suddenly lost their prestige and are living on past glories. No wonder, many parents and guardians are threateningly left with only one option, to withdraw their wards from these schools to other ones that are better managed.
“The evidences to show that the government is not doing enough to assist in the development of education are many. Even pupils in both primary and secondary schools can volunteer a good list on their finger tips.
“One of the numerous indications is the government’s inability to pay running cost to schools. The running cost is the token amount per pupil paid to school administrators to run the affairs of the school in a term. This has been neglected to pile up for several academic sessions.
“Another one is the regular poor conduct of terminal examinations. These examinations are not usually conducted as and when due. The government may have one excuse or the other, but real educationists know that appropriate timing is a strong factor in the process of Continuous Assessment (CA) of students. Thus, a situation, where for instance, the first term examination is shifted to second term is an outright departure from the norms and ethics of Continuous Assessment.”
The summary passage was said to have been culled from Jola Adegbenro’s Issues on Education Today.
The governor and some other top government officials were allegedly angry with this section, which they believed made a veiled reference to what obtained in the state.
Consequently, the embattled officials were invited to Abeokuta last week to face a disciplinary panel set up by the state Bureau of Establishment and Training, where they were quizzed.
The state’s Head of Service, Mrs. Modupe Adekunle, while reacting to the sacking, said the government followed the due process “because the affected officials were given opportunity to defend themselves.”
She said, “I am aware that not all of them were dismissed, some had their appointment terminated and some were compulsorily retired.
“When the issue came up, the state government put in the necessary process, a panel was set up to investigate and based on their recommendations, the state Civil Service Commission has to decide. It is a decision that has been relayed to the affected officers.
“The normal process was that a panel was set up, the report was forwarded to the Civil Service Commission for the civil servants, the Teaching Service Commission, for the teachers.
“The decision was in line with the civil service rule, due process was followed to the latter.”