Thursday, 30th November 2023

EKOEXCEL frees five siblings from street begging

By Azeez Olorunlomeru
01 May 2022   |   3:01 am
The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board’s (LASUBEB) EKOEXCEL has rescued five siblings of the same parents from street begging and enrolled them in school.

The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board’s (LASUBEB) EKOEXCEL has rescued five siblings of the same parents from street begging and enrolled them in school.

A transformational reform programme launched by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in 2019, EKOEXCEL’s overarching goal is to bring pupils of public schools at par with their peers globally through technology and innovative teaching methods.

The programme has also upskilled over 18,000 teachers through re-training and using technology that supports and motivates them to succeed in their classrooms. It has also led to a drastic reduction in out-of-school children in the state through collaboration with Project Zero, another unique project of the government.

A non-governmental organisation, Mothers Support Mother Tongue Initiative, discovered the five pupils begging for alms with their mother, Mrs Joseph, at Lagos’ Ajah axis. The family has had to rely on begging since the passing away of their breadwinner, Mr Joseph, who had died in an unfortunate event. They were begging on the street when the Mothers Support Mother Tongue Initiative founder, Mrs Feyikemi Niyi-Olayinka, saw them, spoke with Mrs Joseph, and brought their plight to the attention of EKOEXCEL officials.

The officials followed up with the family and enrolled the five siblings in Kazeem Alimi Nursery and Primary school, Ajah, on January 25, 2022, through the Project Zero Scheme.

To ensure the siblings don’t drop out and that the mother has a sustainable income to keep them in school, the Mothers Support Mother Tongue Initiative rallied around and raised money through donations for her to start selling cooked food.

“I am very grateful for this support from EKOEXCEL, Project Zero, and Mothers Support Mother Tongue Initiative. The Lagos State Government has done well with the EKOEXCEL programme. Without their intervention, we would still be on the street, and my children wouldn’t have had the school opportunity. If not, my children wouldn’t have had the opportunity of education after the unfortunate death of my husband,” Mrs Joseph said.

EKOEXCEL is a government designed and funded programme to drive excellence in learning for 500,000 pupils across 1,016 public primary schools in Lagos State.

Since its commencement, primary education in Lagos State has seen a substantial transformation in teacher attendance, teacher content knowledge, time on task, teacher motivation, pupil attendance and improvement in pupil learning outcomes.

EKOEXCEL has already shown dramatic, research-proven gains in pupil learning.

EKOEXCEL pupils are making remarkable progress in oral reading fluency and foundational numeracy compared to their performance before the initiative’s commencement.

The report further showed that an average Primary 3 EKOEXCEL pupil is now reading at nearly the same fluency level as an average Primary 5 pupil before the EKOEXCEL programme’s launch.

On average, EKOEXCEL Primary 2-3 pupils outperform 13 other country contexts on the International Common Assessment of Numeracy (ICAN), while Primary 4-6 rank third out of 14 country contexts on the same numeracy assessment.

EKOEXCEL was born out of the Lagos State Government’s desire to maintain its position as a leading African economy. It believes a critical investment in basic education is required to build the quality workforce needed for the nation’s growth. Most importantly, Lagos is unequivocal in its commitment to equity through ensuring access to quality education for all children.