In accordance with the Oyo State Government’s quest of developing a capable workforce in Oyo State and making the state become a hub for knowledgeable and skilled experts, the Oyo State Model Education System Interventions (OYOMESI) has established a collaboration with global technological companies, Microsoft and Signal Alliance to establish 8 Cluster Learning and Resource Centres. These are expected to increase to 33 by 2019, that is 1 in each of the 33 Local Government Areas of the state and one in every school within the next 5 years.

According to Dr Bisi Akin-Alabi, the Special Adviser on Education, the initial 8 Cluster Learning and Resource Centres will be equipped with 800 computers (100 in each of the 8 Centres). This was made known at a press briefing held on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism Gallery, Oyo State Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

She stated further that the 8 Cluster Learning and Resource Centres birthed from this collaboration will consist of 4 centres in Ibadan, 2 in Oke Ogun zone, 1 in Oyo/Ogbomosho zone and 1 in Ibarapa zone, which will all be equipped with 100 computers each, amounting to 800 computers in all.

In her words, she stressed that in a globalised world where knowledge has become the mainstay of most economies, any society that does not equip its citizens with the tools and means of lifelong learning, will be seriously handicapped.

Dr Bisi Akin-Alabi added that education is critical to national development and any government that fails to invest a lot of its resources, energy and time on human capital development, does so at its own peril. Hence, Oyo State Government is taking a very bold step towards reclaiming the lost glory in the education sector as well as improving its quality in order to be at per with new and emerging trends in education, through the Oyo State Model Education System Interventions (OYOMESI) and other strategic initiatives.

Conveying the good intention of the State Governor, the Governor’s Aide stated that Sen. Abiola Ajimobi is keen at tackling the challenges posed by access to quality education in the state, therefore ensures that all pupils in the state (in both government and private-owned schools) have access to the various programmes OYOMESI has birthed since its launch in May 2017. She added that Sen. Abiola Ajimobi’s administration is committed to working towards the attainment of the targets outlined in the 4th Sustainable Development Goal by the United Nations (UN): Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Jordan Belmonte, the Head of Microsoft Education Programs explained that the Microsoft Imagine Academy is a digital learning initiative that helps in bridging the skills gap by providing teachers with curriculum for teaching Information Technology (IT). She added that the academy will provide industry-recognised technology education, skills and certifications that pupils and educators need to promote independent lifelong learning.

The CEO of Signal Alliance, Mrs Adanma Onoegbu, in her remarks added that it is important to prepare pupils to be IT-compliant before they join the workforce. She stressed the need for technological education to be embraced in all parts of Nigeria, hence the need to support the digital literacy drive of Oyo State Government. She gave her assurance that Signal Alliance will ensure that the objectives of the programme are realised.

In his address, the State Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela stated that academic lecture notes tagged Ajumose Notes which are developed in core subjects would be made available in Portable Document Format (PDF), in order for the pupils to access them at the Cluster Learning Centres.

While fielding questions from members of the Press, Dr. Bisi Akin-Alabi announced that Gov. Abiola Ajimobi will launch the initiative soon with school proprietors, heads of schools, IT directors of learning at all levels and education stakeholders in attendance.