In line with the commitment of the government of the State of Osun to use technology to improve planning, allocation of resources and service delivery in its education sector, a novel smart (biometric) identity card was launched for all public school students. The card was launched on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at Salvation Army School, Alekuwodo, Oshogbo, Osun State.

An initiative of Chams Plc, the biometric identity cards linked back to a central database provides the government of the State of Osun with accurate and reliable data on the identity and number students attending public schools in the state, serving as an enabler for the revolutionary education policy of the state government.

Launching the school smart identity card, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor, State of Osun said, “In the history of human inventions, there are not too many inventions that are as useful as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in terms of its efficiency and effectiveness at providing solutions to human problems. It is this same ICT that we have embraced in order to solve and ease the problems of public administration in the State of Osun. The Osun Student Smart ID card which is embedded with biometric identification features but without ATM enablement is a prime solution for improving service delivery in the education sector.”OgbeniAregbesola added that with the card, each student is a unique and identifiable individual that cannot be mistaken for another person. “Effortlessly, government can identify all students in public schools, and have access to their information at the push of a button. It improves the effectiveness of remarkable programmes such as the O’Meals, O’Schools, Opon Imo and other well-meaning initiatives put in place for the welfare of students because numbers can be checked through this smart card.  Implying that we are provided with more accurate information on the exact number of beneficiaries which eliminates fraud and accounting error of any type.”

Commenting on the project, Mr. TitilayoLaoye-Tomori, Deputy Governor of the State of Osun, who is also the Commissioner for Education said, “This is indeed a significant milestone for the State of Osun because without accurate data, a holistic transformation of the education sector in Osun may remain elusive. Issuance of smart identity cards to all public school students will ensure that we have accurate data for use in updating our education strategy and sustain our pragmatic work-plan to ensure overall policy success. In no small measure, the smart identity card will also ensure accountability to government by all students and teachers of public school as it makes it possible for schools to identify and track attendance.”

She added that the government of the State of Osun will continue to upscale its investment in education across the state because it regards education of children and youths as the only investment that can guarantee the exponential growth and development of the state in the 21st century’s maturing knowledge economy which places very high premium on human capital.

On his part, Mr. Demola Aladekomo, Managing Director, Chams Plc said, “The Smart ID card ensures the biographical and biometric identification of public school children from elementary schools to middle schools and high schools, keeping equipped with information on demographic data of the student population in the State of Osun. This certainly improves planning, distribution and allocation of educational resources in alignment with population size, distribution and the unique needs of students and schools across the 30 local government areas of the state. It will also aid the judicious use of limited government resources and improve budgeting, while also providing accurate data for further transformative policy enunciations.”

Aladekomo added that Chams is proud to be associated with the giant strides achieved by the government of the State of Osun as its continuously deploys Information and Communications Technology to improve governance and service delivery to the people of the state, irrespective of their location and status. “Without doubt, the State of Osun is indeed becoming a model in e-governance that is worthy of emulation by other state governments because of its shrewdness and foresightedness in using technology to reduce the high incidence of fraud and wastage often associated with the public sector programmes. We can only promise the government of the State of Osun that we will not stop working with you to ensure that we deploy innovative services to you.”

It would be recalled that a new education policy seeking an integrative and ICT enabled approach to the education of children and youth in The State of Osun evolved from the Osun Education Summit in 2011. The new policy has been described by the stakeholders in the education sector as a comprehensive and holistic response to the deterioration of public school system in the state.

In April, Chams Plc partnered First Bank of Nigeria to provide civil servants in the State of Osun with smart identity cards embedded with MasterCard prepaid capabilities – also the first of its kind by any state government in Nigeria. The card with biometric features can be used by the civil servants outside the country and is accepted by over 16 million merchants worldwide.