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GCI at 90: Old boys reintroduce boarding system

The Government College Ibadan (GCI) which was established 90 years ago by Mr. Selwyn Macgregor Grier is still a darling for any parent who desires…

The Government College Ibadan (GCI) which was established 90 years ago by Mr. Selwyn Macgregor Grier is still a darling for any parent who desires good education for their children. The school environment, starting from the main entrance, is well structured and maintained by the government and of recent the Old Students Association of the school.

Classrooms are well painted, tiled and maintained. A well-ventilated principal’s office was recently rehabilitated with air-conditioning and equipment.

As the college marks its 90th anniversary, roads leading to the school had been rehabilitated with asphalt; dormitories abandoned for decades had been refurbished and remodelled; a new clinic constructed; Lalekan Are hall built by the school’s patron repainted, as well as a number of innovations which have made the school reclaim its lost glory.

A well-painted Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre donated by the old students of the school is located on the left-hand side of the school and equipped with over 100 computers.

However, a SS II student, who spoke with our correspondent, bemoaned the lack of teachers in the school but said the support of the PTA teachers made it difficult for people to notice the deficiencies.

A top management member of the school, who craved anonymity, also confirmed the lack of teachers to our correspondent but added that the old students association have directed the management to recall the sacked PTA teachers.

He said, “Yes, it is true, we don’t have enough teachers. As a result of that, PTA employed some teachers for us, but when the new government came on board and asked all the schools to stop collecting money from parents, we had to sack them. Having done that, the old boys noticed the deficiencies and directed us to recall them PRA teachers. The brain behind it is to test run it for two months before knowing the next line of actions. But we are aware that the state governor is taking the stock to know how many teachers we need in the state,” he said.

The Old Boys Association of the school on Thursday provided lunch for 2, 300 current students of the school as part of activities marking the 90th anniversary of the school.

The Old Boys Association (GCIOBA) has also concluded plans to reintroduce the boarding school system of education in the school with the renovation and commissioning of two halls -Powell and Carr, worth N300m.

The national president of GCIOBA, Dr Wale Babalakin SAN, last week said the fund was to ensure the school is put in a proper state.

The renovated 300 capacity hall – Powell and Carr, with modern facilities, according to the Old Boys is expected to house 600 students as renovation work has reached completion level.

Babalakin, who was represented by the Chairman, Ibadan branch of GCIOBA, Engineer Femi Babalola, at a press conference, disclosed that the college known for setting a standard in education in Nigeria is set to lead in that capacity again.

Babalola said “the GCIOBA executive had taken it upon itself to improve on the level of intervention of infrastructure development in the school.

“The college was set up on the principle of the boarding system of school and a tripod stand of academics, sports and character.

“The GCIOBA from its inception in the 1930s has been playing a significant role in helping to sustain and maintain impeccable standards. The association is giving back to the school what the school gave to its members.

Babalola listed some of the projects as school main field, fencing of the school, cricket gavel, health and wellness centre, asphalt laying of the road network within the school premises, rehabilitation of the gatehouse, among others.

Some of the activities lined up for the 90th anniversary include public lectures, a novelty cricket match, an Annual General meeting, drama presentation, presentation of awards, commissioning of projects, among others.

Babalakin recalled that the weeklong event had been so beneficial and remarkable, especially the kick-off of programmes in Lagos State with drama sketches, and adaptation of Wole Soyinka; Femi Osofisan; and Bode Sowande’s plays.

He said the presentation of awards to six literary icons; anniversary lunch with staff and students and donation of over one million naira items to less privileged will be part of the peak of events.

The N300million two block of hostel renovated by the Old boys of the school

Responding to a question on the government’s efforts at repositioning the education sector, Babalakin lauded Governor Seyi Makinde and urged him to do more in the area of recruitment of qualified teachers for schools.

He, however, regretted that only 24 government teachers, including the principal, were in the school and the GCIOBA had to shoulder the responsibility of paying 59 others to ensure quality teaching and learning.

“We observed that the state government needs to do a lot in the area of recruitment of qualified teachers. They have 24 teachers for the whole school (senior and junior arms) with over 2, 000 students as you can see.

“The GCIOBA took it upon itself to recruit 16 teachers and also recalled 34 others recruited by the Parents Teachers Association but laid off because of the government’s directive for the stoppage of all levies in schools,” he added.

Also speaking, the National Social Secretary and the Chairman of the planning committee of the anniversary, Mr. Yinka Adepoju, said, “What we are doing today (anniversary lunch with students and staff) is a GCI tradition.

“We are trying to bring the lost glory of the school by contributing about N500 million to develop the infrastructural facilities of the school,” Adepoju added.

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