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Excitement as Lagos moves against dilapidated school buildings

By Bertram Nwannekanma
03 March 2022   |   3:01 am
There are better days ahead for residents and pupils as Lagos State Government intensifies action against school dropouts through massive reconstruction of dilapidated infrastructure

Ongoing construction of containerised modular 12 classroom blocks at Vetland Junior High School, Agege with interactive screen to aid teaching and learning. Inset: Smith

Constructs containerised modular classrooms

There are better days ahead for residents and pupils as the Lagos State Government intensifies action against school dropouts through massive reconstruction of dilapidated infrastructure in public schools across the state.

    
Before now, public schools were in bad shape and unfit for any meaningful learning, hence the high number of school dropouts, despite the compulsory and free education policy of the present government.
  
Only recently, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu momentarily halted his convoy at the sight of two underage girls on an errand during school hours.
 
The Guardian learnt that one of the key factors responsible for high school dropouts, which is breeding insecurity, is the despicable state of infrastructure and furniture in the state’s public schools.
 
 
But the chairman of Lagos State Special Committee on Rehabilitation of Public Schools (SCRPS), Hakeem Smith, said the committee was set up to tackle such infrastructural decays. He said the state is changing the narrative through massive reconstruction of infrastructure and provision of furniture in public schools.
    
Acknowledging that the activities of SRIPS slowed down during the last administration, he said the committee had been involved in the massive renovation of over 700 schools across the six education districts in the state, comprising Epe, Ikorodu, Badagry, Alimosho, Lagos Island and Ikeja, since its inauguration in 2019.
     
Some of the beneficiaries, divided into junior and secondary schools, he said, include Iloro Senior School Agege, Abesan Senior School; Oriokuta Junior Secondary School, Idi Orogbo, Ikorodu, Elepe Community Junior High School, Elepe, Ikorodu, Odomola Senior Secondary School, Epe, Ayandelu Junior/Senior Academy, Ayandelu Onosa, Eric Moore Junior/Senior High School, Surulere, State Comprehensive Junior College, Alimosho, Euba Junior Secondary School, Mushin, Araromi Ilogbo junior Grammar School, Oko-Afo, Badagry, Agboju Senior Secondary school, Agboju, Ojo, Ilupeju Comprehensive High School, Oshodi and Ajegunle Junior High School, Kosofe.

“These include rehabilitation and production of furniture. “Asides from rehabilitation,  we built new classroom blocks and hostel blocks.
   
“For, instance, in  2020,  we have like Alagbado Junior Grammar School, in Alimosho, have Lagos State Junior College Meeran,  Ijaye Housing Estate Junior Secondary School, the Baptist Secondary School Agege and the Lagos State Model College, Igbookuta, where we have a 99-bed hostel and a laundromat,” he said.
    
Beyond the provision of this infrastructure, Smith said the committee has added the fabrication of furniture for primary schools and construction of a maiden modular school using containers at Vetland Junior High School, Agege with interactive screen to aid teaching and learning, which is expected to be commissioned in June, which is also expected to be replicated across the six zones.

He stressed the choice of modular containerised schools was because of their durability and affordability considering the high cost of building materials.
  
He saiid: “The primary justification for modular containers was particularly to address the speed of delivery because the containers are already built, all you need to do is to stack them, once you stack them, you will now insulate the inside and they are ready for use and the containers are readily available.”
 
The SCRP chairman hinted at the commissioning of several completed projects in the first quarter of the year and advised benefiting pupils to shun the destruction of school infrastructure to avoid unnecessary waste of scarce government resources.

 
When The Guardian visited Vetland modular school construction site at Agege, Mr. Gbolahan Olayomi, the contractor and Managing Director, Equipment Hall expressed optimism to deliver as scheduled.
 
Olayomo, who founded Wowbii Interactive, one of Africa’s first and premier Interactive LED Flat Panel Display Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), said the project was the first of its kind in Nigeria.
 
He stressed that the school is going to be the first school of its kind in Nigeria public or private, schools, which would be fully running on interactive technology in the sense that everything will run on touch see feel and appeal to all the five senses.
  
According to him, anyway, a child learns, whether it a child, who learns by watching videos, whether the child loves to read, whether he or she is a type who is auditory, the facility is ready to train him or her.  
      
On the choice of containers, Olayomi said containers allowed them to better integrate their technology and encourage them to build much faster and quicker and last longer.
     
He said: “ We also have a structure that will be weather-resistant in most part. We have a building here that will last over 50 years with the same look and feel.
    
“The speed of deployment was very important to us and the ease of the building, but more importantly we could easily integrate all our technology our wiring and everything into a built structure and just deliver mostly to sites .”
     
Elated by this development, pupils of Vetland Junior and Senior Secondary, Agege have extolled the state government for turning the fortune of their school.
   
One of them, Ayinde Onisemo, said it was gratifying to know that their school was the first modular school in Nigeria, saying he cannot wait to experience the new technology.