Lagos Restates Commitment to One-meal-a-day Programme


Funmi Ogundare

The Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to the implementation of the one-meal-a-day programme aimed at increasing the nutrition content of students’ meals to keep them healthy and encourage more of them to stay in school.

The Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, who disclosed this recently while presenting the state government’s scorecard to mark Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s first year in office, said efforts are ongoing to perfect the programme.

“The state government has made provision for the programme in the budget to show its commitment, but it is awaiting the intervention of the federal government since it was designed to be funded by the federal and state governments on a 60:40 ratio counterpart funding. Thus, there was the need to wait on the federal government to kick start the programme.”

She said the distribution of tablets with the current academic curriculum is also receiving adequate attention, adding that the state would not rush into taking any junk as tablets, as efforts are under way to select master tutors who would write the contents of the tablet.

Responding to a question about exposing children in the riverine and rural parts of the state to ICT, Adebule who superintends the ministry of education, said the state is working on providing solar-powered electricity in many of such schools so that there would be electricity to power the computer units that might be distributed to them to get optimum value for money and necessary impact on the children.

She blamed the problem of out-of-school children on the crisis rocking many parts of the country, making people to flee to safer zones like Lagos. She said the first step would be to interface with the parents of such children and enlighten them on the need to enroll them in school and the danger of doing otherwise. According to her, it is only when such people have settled down and properly guided that recalcitrant ones can be made to face the law.

In another development, the state government has warned that anyone who perpetrates violence against children in any form, be it physical, sexual, psychological, deliberate neglect, kidnap and child trafficking would be dealt with according to the dictates of the law.

The governor disclosed this in an address delivered on his behalf by Adebule at the grand finale of activities marking this year’s Children’s Day held at the Nigeria Police College Parade ground with the theme, ‘Stop Violence against Children’.

He stated that he shares in the children’s vision of a very bright future and urged them to upscale their academic performance by preparing well ahead of all examinations and shun malpractices because it is not only criminal and immoral, but also ends one’s career when caught.

“It is noteworthy that while the percentage of students who passed with five credits including Mathematics and English in WASSCE has increased from 17.40 per cent in 2011 to 41.06 per cent in 2015, this is not an acceptable standard for this government. We expect a better result from the SS3 students in the just concluded WASSCE.”

Ambode expressed satisfaction with the improvement in the education sector as exemplified by the results of the various co-curricular activities locally and internationally, saying that it has been a source of joy to the state government.

“Your exploits in the quiz and debates show that you are a match for your peers anywhere around the world. I am proud of you and I urge you to keep it up.”

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Adesina Odeyemi, reminded students that education remains the veritable means of attaining greatness as it helps to prepare individuals for life’s challenges. He urged them to work hard to make their parents and the entire community happy through their performances.