Lagos and public schools’ infrastructure renewal
The administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State clearly understands the key role education can play in transforming society. This explains the decision of the administration to make education a foremost part of its T.H.E.M.E.S (acronyms for Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21ST Economy, Entertainment and Tourism and Governance and Security) Developmental Agenda.
The increase in budgetary allocation for education, no doubt, signifies the intention of the Sanwo-Olu led government to use education as a most effective channel to drive its ‘Greater Lagos’ vision.
Therefore, the pursuit of developing an educational system that is able to think critically, innovate and provide solutions towards a more sustainable pattern of living has become a noticeable part of the administration’s agenda.
One clear-cut way of achieving this has been through a well-designed infrastructure renewal programme across all public schools in the State.
No doubt, the results are becoming visible as Governor Sanwo-Olu recently declared that a total of 1,449 infrastructural projects have been commissioned in 1,036 Schools across the State, while 96,334 dual composite units of furniture were supplied to primary and secondary schools across the state.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed this at the closing ceremony and dinner of the 61st Independence anniversary of the President’s National Inter-Basic School Debate Championship held at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja.
The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education in Lagos State, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, said 96,334 dual composite units of furniture were supplied to primary and secondary schools across the state.
He said: “So far, our government has delivered over 1,449 school infrastructural projects, covering 1,036 schools across the state. Our government ensured prompt construction and rehabilitation of dilapidated public schools, while 96,334 dual composite units of furniture were supplied to primary and secondary schools across the State”
As he is doing across all sectors in the State, the governor is not just talking the talk, he is also working the talk. Recently, his administration delivered a brand new edifice at the Junior Secondary School in Elemoro community in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area.
The state-of-the-art school structure has a college-size football pitch completed with 50mm-thick pile of grass and soft in-fills to ensure playability and fall absorption impact.
Built on 1.54 hectares of land, the imposing 18-classroom Elemoro Community Junior Secondary School was designed to offer learning services, recreational activity and extracurricular leisure.
The project, conceived by the Sanwo-Olu administration, was initiated as an intervention to address a shortfall in access to education in the community. Before the school was built, pupils in the town usually trekked a long distance to schools located outside the community.
Inaugurating the school built behind Area J Police Command in Elemoro, the Governor said the project was dear to his heart, as its delivery demonstrated fulfillment of his campaign pledge to Oke Odo-Elemoro-Iwerekun community.
Sanwo-Olu praised the town’s traditional ruler, Oba Tajudeen Elemoro, for freely donating the land on which the education projects are built. The Governor said his administration prioritised the provision of infrastructure in education in recognition of the nexus between knowledge and development.
He said: “This newly constructed educational facility is a project that is dear to my heart and has made me extremely pleased, because it is a fulfillment of my promise to provide the Okeodo-Elemoro-Iwerekun community with a secondary school. What is more pleasing to me today is that, with the commissioning of this school, many children in this locality will now have access to quality secondary education.
“The infrastructure installed in the premises offers the platform through which the pupils can fulfill their dreams and ambitions for the future without having to travel kilometers to another community for secondary education. Our administration’s approach to constructing new schools, rehabilitating and revamping existing ones is all-encompassing; it makes a statement that we are taking the issue of security in our public schools very seriously.”
Aside from the 18-classroom block, the school also has 12 standard classrooms, six special rooms for Home Economics, Technology, a studio for arts and music, a science laboratory, a library and an ICT room. It also has teachers’ offices, sickbay, standard canteen block, and over 30 toilet facilities.
Other recreational facilities built in the school include a six-lane sandwich athletics running track and a spacious seating arena.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the government will build the senior secondary arm of the school in complementing the junior school. He said his administration’s vision in education was to ensure every child in public schools had unrestricted access to quality education. The obligation, he said, is being fulfilled with the infrastructure being delivered across schools.
The Governor reiterated his administration’s zero-tolerance for bullying and organised intimidation in schools. He urged teachers and administrators to dedicate more time to students and give them listening ears.
Recall that Sanwo-Olu has earlier commissioned a new 180-bed female hostel, 12-classroom block and other school facilities at the Lagos State Model College, Igbokuta.
While handing over the schools’ infrastructure projects, the governor noted that the projects reflect his administration’s continued dedication to quality and equitable education, stressing the government’s unwavering commitment to the provision of conducive learning and teaching environment across all schools in the State.
“We will continue to build, rehabilitate and equip our schools as necessary”, the Governor maintained.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, acknowledged the Governor’s sustained passion and significant contribution to the education sector in the State, pointing out that the efforts are geared towards ensuring that all students in Lagos Public Schools receive a quality education in a conducive environment.
In her words: “It is indeed wonderful to see that in less than three years, the State has fulfilled most of the promises made to a significant extent in terms of investment in the quality of teaching and learning in Lagos”.
“One interesting thing to note about the newly constructed hostel is that it has a reading room for students to study after school hours as well as a laundry room, which is the first of its kind”, Adefisayo said.
Other schools where learning infrastructure have been upgraded include Ojota Junior Grammar School, Muslim Senior College, Oworonshoki, Eva Adelaja Memorial Girls Grammar School, Somolu, Lagos State Model College Badore, Model College, Igbokuta and Model College, Oriokuta.
Others are Model College, Ojo, Model College, Oriwu, Model College, Agunfoye, Ikorodu, Civil Service Model College, Ikorodu, Model College, Meiran, Akintan Junior Grammar School, Surulere, Ibeju-Lekki, Oke Odo Junior High School, Ebute-Metta, FESTAC Junior Grammar School, Amuwo-Odofin, Badagry Junior Grammar School, Badagry, Araromi-Ilogbo Junior Secondary School, Oko-Afo, St. Joseph Secondary School, Mushin and Ajumoni Junior Grammar School, Mushin amongst others.
In the words of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, “the power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success”.
It is, thus, in order to properly leverage on the power of education that the Sanwo-Olu administration is overhauling public schools infrastructure in Lagos State.
Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Information and strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.