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Exciting times for education in Lagos

By Mobolaji Egbewunmi 
06 August 2022   |   8:11 am
Exciting times are here for the education sector in Lagos State. The huge investments of the government in the sector are beginning to yield concrete dividends.  The performance of the State’s students in WASSCE/GCE has significantly improved from 38.79% in 2020 to over 81% in 2021 with a minimum of five credits including Mathematics and…

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (middle) cutting the tape; (to his left) Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Member, State House of Assembly, Agege Constituency II, Yinka Ogundimu; Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo and Chairman of the Special Committee on Rehabilitation of Public Schools (SCRPS), Hakeem Smith, during the official commissioning of Vetland Junior Grammar School at Agege in Lagos…yesterday.

Exciting times are here for the education sector in Lagos State. The huge investments of the government in the sector are beginning to yield concrete dividends. 

The performance of the State’s students in WASSCE/GCE has significantly improved from 38.79% in 2020 to over 81% in 2021 with a minimum of five credits including Mathematics and English.

In the last three years, the annual budget for the State Ministry of Education is bigger than the total budget of some States in the country.

The education Ministry got N133.5 billion in 2020, N146.9 billion in 2021 and N173.5 billion in 2022.

According to the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, about N23.62 billion had been spent on infrastructure development of public schools in the last three years.

Critical investment in the sector is aimed at ensuring students in the public schools receive quality education in a conducive and friendly environment.

In order to sustain the pace of development in the sector, the government recently unveiled a set of technology-driven modular learning spaces, which introduces an innovation to the design of a modern classroom. 

The nine-classroom block was built to replace decrepit concrete structures in Vetland Junior Grammar School, a government-owned Model College in Agege Local Government Area. 

The interactive modular classrooms were improvised, using standardised reusable freight compartments, known as container. 

Each of the classroom compartment is adequately insulated to give comfort and create a conducive ambience for hybrid learning for students. 

The project is completed with three laboratories and four staff rooms – all made from container. There are also recreational facilities, including a five-aside football pitch, a multi-purpose-built court, which can be used for a variety of games, such as volleyball, long tennis, badminton, and basketball. 

The classrooms and their ancillary facilities have their dedicated energy source, off grid; they are powered by solar panels, which guarantee constant power supply to enable teaching and learning.

The IT-enabled modular interactive classrooms would make a lasting impact in the State’s effort to make basic education accessible. 

The containerised structures were raised on high-density rafts carefully calculated to hold both live and dead loads.

The floors were made of terrazzo material for durability, while 30 convenience facilities were fitted in the academic area with two composite water-free toilet built for visitors.

The rebuilt school also has a water system fitted with a filtration compartment to deliver potable water to the pupils.

“This is the future leaning in public basic education in Nigeria and Africa. The development of containerised modular classrooms is a welcome milestone on our journey towards ensuring that no child is left behind in Lagos.

“Our goal, as a Government, is to build learning spaces of the future, thereby bequeathing public schools that are driven by cutting-edge technology and that can compete favourably with the best schools anywhere in the world.” Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated at the unveiling of the modern classrooms. 

Chairman of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Barr. Omoyele Akintayo, said with the feat, the State government is championing a new course of transformation in the country. 

He said:  “I cannot hide my feelings and emotions today. I am highly delighted. There is no amount of encomiums that can be adequately showered on Governor Sanwo-Olu that will be enough to show our appreciation for this world-class innovation”.

Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, described the feat as another promise kept by the Governor, noting that the Sanwo-Olu administration’s education reforms had transformed public schools.

She said the Model College deserved the gesture, given the academic excellence it had turned out in national examinations over the last three years.

 

“This is an iconic building that will last for ages and transit our children into the 21st century-based knowledge,” the Commissioner said.

The upgrade of the Model College is part of the strategic interventions initiated in the public school system, which have led to the rehabilitation and modernisation of over 200 public schools. 

So far, the Sanwo-Olu administration has constructed more than 800 new classroom blocks as well as supplied about 150,000 units of furniture in the State’s public schools. The intervention has scaled up output in teaching and raised academic excellence.

The government has also improved security in public schools by installing watchtowers, perimeter fences, panic bells and floodlights. It has equally prioritised the comfort of boarding students through the provision of beddings and other necessary items.

Development in the sector is not just about developing infrastructure. As the beneficiaries can attest to, the welfare and training of teaching and administrative staff in the public school have received significant attention as well.

The slogan, “Leave No Child Behind” became prominent with the advent of the Eko-Excel initiative, a transformation enterprise of the incumbent administration. 

Eko-Excel, an acronym for “Excellence in Child Education and Learning”, which was rolled out in phases, is planned to help 14,000 Head-Teachers and students embrace digital teaching, using tablets and updated curriculum in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4. 

 Over 12,000 public primary school teachers have been trained under the pilot scheme, with each of them given a tablet to work with.

The programme has equipped teachers with skills to deliver value, empower pupils with requisite knowledge to improve education and help in sustaining the State’s image as a leading knowledge driven City-State. 

Apart from its technological advantage, the initiative provides a multi-dimensional approach to learning, which includes character moulding of pupils from their formative stage. Thus, Character Boards are placed in all public schools to display names of well-behaved and outstanding pupils to engender progressive competition. 

Recently, 13 outstanding teachers, selected across the State’s six Education Districts were presented vehicles for their passion and deployment of modern techniques to teach pupils.

The recipients were part of the finalists nominated for the Year 2021 Teachers’ Merit Award by the Screening Committee led by the chairperson of Association of Private Educators in Nigeria, Mrs. Lai Koiki.

 

In another development, pioneer students of the new comprehensive school model have received e-Learning Mobile Tablets.

The initiative, which has thus far benefitted 750 students from 12 pilot schools, is to enhance the learning of various vocational skills by beneficiaries.

Emphasising the government’s investment and commitment to the success of the new fit-for-purpose and skill-based school model, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, noted that each teacher and school administrator also received mobile devices that have been preloaded with curriculum content relevant.

While stating that the distribution of the mobile devices cut across comprehensive schools within the six Education Districts, Adefisayo added that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s vision is to ensure that recipients of the new school model are equipped with relevant technology/tools and tutorials on self-reliance and adequate skills up to mastery level.

The technical consulting team and owners of the SuccessTab brand, led by Oluwakoyejo Oluwatosin of Chronicle Software, said the customised mobile tablets are the first government-backed educational intervention programme in the country where all students and teachers use devices primarily in learning delivery.

The Lagos State Comprehensive School Programme commenced early this year with 12 pilot schools. The Government has also declared its intention to increase the number of schools to 50 schools before the end of year 2022.

Comprehensive School students have the option of learning skills up to mastery level in the various subject categories including Agriculture, Tech and Digital Skills, Beauty and Events, Building & Construction, Media and Entertainment, Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Communication, Marketing & Sales and Digital Literacy. 

Egbewunmi is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.