“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decision and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent”. Douglas MacArthur Disruption like no one’s ever seen before, Covid 19 has brought to a halt the world, all facet of the economy and life are gradually grinding down, a situation never experienced in modern history. But the education sector and the knowledge economy are too critical to sleep, just as the health sector stakeholders are the first responders in this war against the unseen enemy of the new normal environment.
Education as a lifelong endeavour , parents, stakeholders and the nation cannot afford the covid inflicted gaps, schools must adapt to virtual learning, medical researchers must continue to work against the pandemic, policy makers and first responders must continue to study and learn from other clime- the best approach to fight the corona virus.
In critical moments like this, visionary leaders and great thinkers have come to proffer the very best strategies and approach to adopt in providing solutions and resolving problems well ahead of time. Winston Churchill during an address in Harvard on the 6th of September ,1943, declared that…..”The empires of the future are the empires of the mind”.When someone is truly visionary and works all his life changing the course of history by inventing, discovering or implementing things that can change, improve people’s lives, they become immortals.
Above copious quotations is an apt description of leadership in terms of fore sightedness and fortuitousness as regards the present situation we have found ourselves globally. Today, the whole world is going through a tumultuous situation with the ravaging pandemic called “Covid 19” or Coronavirus by World Health Organization (WHO).
In view of the prevalent situation the world is through in reference to COVID 19, we have all revert to Virtual world such ad teleconferencing, E- learning, Virtual meeting and all that’s need to do with Information Technology being the dictate of the moment which necessitates social distancing.
The demand of our present situation globally and its dictates brings back to our memory “Opon Imo ” or ” Tablets of Knowledge ” which was launched in the State of Osun by the dynamic and future driven governmemt of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 3rd of June, 2013. Opon Imo which was one of the offshoots of the Education Summit held in February, 2011 headed by Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka. The outcome of the summit led to the reclassification and remodelling of schools, infrastructures and human capital development of educational structures in the State of Osun .
The education policy thrust was to gradually use Opon Imo to drive the digital and virtual learning platform in the State of Osun, with multiplier effects nationwide. With the good intention of the government to extended learning through broadcast medium of radio and television, this cannot march the virtual learning platform by Zoom and other digital learning platforms.
Playing politics with innovations and developmental policies and projects are our stock in trade. Those who are adversaries of Opon Imo some years back, are at the vanguard of calling for Virtual learning today, forgetting that gentle walk of yesterday will amount to giant strides of today.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola truly score a first with Opon Imo, despite the push backs associated with push back suffered during the implementation of the novel digital project, but today, the present situation of the world has justified Aregbesola’s decision to put the state education on Digital or Virtual learning. The component or the content of Opon Imo which includes, 56 subjects, Virtual class, 10 year past questions of WASCE and Cultural understanding of Yoruba culture and her belief.
Without sounding immodest if we had all embraced this invention nationwide, continuous learning won’t be an issue now that the whole educational institutions are under lock and key. The take-away of this experience, should serve as congruence for stakeholders to always allow for ventilation of ideas and projects with futuristic adaptation, relevance and benefits. A re-visit and repackaging of Opon Imo remains a desirable path to explore in this new normal educational environment.