Repositioning Education in Lagos

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State government appears to have begun to walk the talk in its determination to transform the education sector, writes Raheem Akingbolu

In conceptualisation and execution, the promoters of ‘EkoExcel’ hasn’t left any stakeholder in doubt that they know what they want and how to achieve it. Unlike other public initiatives that lack basic touch of communication, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is the chief driver of the project, has in the last few months, championed the build up to the campaign. According to the governor, the programme is encapsulated in the 3rd pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda to provide Education and Technology.

At the official inauguration of the initiative recently, the governor reaffirmed his administration’s plan to transform the educational sector of the State as well as jacking up government’s investment for the good of the pupils.

Over 3000 teachers from various schools and education districts across the State converged at Ikeja, where the Governor formally launched the teachers’ professional development and training programme.

Earlier, primary school teachers went through a two-week training process, organised by the State Universal Basic Education Board (LSUBEB) to increase capacity and develop manpower of teachers in the State.

Sanwo-olu noted that at the end, over 14,000 primary school teachers would have benefited from the initiative while over 500,000 pupils would have been positively impacted.

The Governor said: “I am particularly happy that this programme is holding at a time when all hands are on deck to ensure that the quality of teaching and learning is improved across all our schools in the State.

“As a responsible government, we will continue the massive investment in this sector, with the training and retraining of our teachers, making the sector more ICT compliant, exposing our teachers to international best practices as well as ensuring that our schools become a destination for work and learning.

“We resolved to address these problems through combining innovative technological approach that is scientifically based, with effective training and empowering our teachers in every Local Government to strengthen their capacity and deliver quality education to our children.”

The Governor, in a bid to encourage teachers and make good examples from outstanding ones, said the State Government will identify the best Head Teachers in all the 20 LGs and 37 LCDAs and reward them with a car each.
He noted that his administration is not paying lip service to the repositioning of the educational sector, noting that it is the reason the education ministry got a significantly higher envelope in the 2020 budget.

The Governor also promised that teachers will undergo free sight assessment and reading glasses will be provided for every teacher that requires it to be able to discharge their duties effectively.

The concept, which is Excellence in Child Learning and Education Programme is a Lagos State primary education transformation initiative.
With the programme, over 14,000 Head Teachers and teachers will be moved from analogue to digital teaching, using tablets and updated curriculum. Over 3,000 primary school teachers from 300 public primary schools have been captured under the Pilot Scheme.
An initiative of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, the EKOEXCEL is aimed at developing a highly-skilled teaching workforce by training, supporting and motivating Lagos State teachers to succeed in the classroom of tomorrow and enhance the State Basic Education curriculum thereby empowering children to compete effectively in the world of work.
The programme will equip teachers with skills to deliver value, empower pupils with requisite knowledge to improve education and help in sustaining the growth of Lagos State as a leading knowledge driven city and economy in the world.
The launch followed a two-week intensive training of over 4,000 teachers from various schools and education districts across the state who will be the main drivers of the new initiative to reposition service delivery in public primary schools with special focus on learning outcomes for pupils.
Teachers as Influencers

Like in homes, where children and mothers are the major influencers, teachers are believed to be the major influencers of children. To this end, Lagos State government see the need to invest in the teachers and make them competitive and compliance to the expectation of today’s world.

As stated by the governor, the promoters of the initiative appreciate the place of digital and technology in today’s teaching, hence the need to invest in technology.

Sanwo-Olu said: “They are like beacons of light, guiding us in the formative years of our life. Teachers mould us and, in the process, shape our future. What we learn from our teachers remains with us throughout our life. However, career development is important and puts emphasis on broader skills, which are applicable in a wide range of situations. This includes decision making, thinking creatively and managing the children for excellence.”

The governor recalled that at the inception of his administration, his team identified three critical issues militating against quality education in Lagos State. They are the need to upgrade the teaching profession to promote knowledge transfer and co-create workable functional models for the profession thereby creating overwhelming support for learning outcomes; review the school curriculum such that it reflects current and future industry needs to positively influence and reshape the present educational system in the state; and upgrading school infrastructure.

“We resolved to solve these problems through combining innovative technology, scientifically based pedagogical approaches, effective training, support and closing the learning gap such that all school age children in Lagos State builds a better and brighter future for themselves, their families and the teeming people of Lagos State. We resolved that this government will empower teachers in every local government and strengthen their capacity to deliver quality education to our children.”

He said at the end of the programme, over 14,000 primary school teachers would have benefited from the initiative, while over 500,000 pupils would have been positively impacted.

“I am particularly happy that this programme is holding at a time when all hands are on deck to ensure that the quality of teaching and learning is improved across all our schools in the state.

“As a responsible government, we will continue the massive investment in this sector, with the training and retraining of our teachers, making the sector more ICT compliant, exposing our teachers to international best practices, as well as ensuring that our schools become a destination for work and learning.”

To encourage teachers and make good examples from outstanding ones, he said the state government would identify the best head teachers in all the 20 local government areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and reward them with a car each.
The governor noted that his administration is not paying lip service to repositioning the sector, adding that the education ministry got a significantly higher allocation in the 2020 budget.

He also promised that teachers will undergo free sight assessment and reading glasses will be provided for every teacher that requires it to be able to discharge their duties effectively.

In her remarks, the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo said the goal of the concept as an initiative to reform primary school learning outcomes in Lagos is to transform learning in the classroom such that every child has access to quality teachers.

“For these youths to contribute their utmost, the onus falls on the teachers to impact rightly, in accordance to the modern pace and trends. Investing in the education of our children and young adult became paramount and the need to strengthen the capacity of teachers to deliver quality education became germane. It is our believe that introducing new educational infrastructure will cultivate a learning environment that would prepare our children and young adults for a trending terrain that requires intuition, creativity and critical thinking for future workplaces.

“With these in view, integrating technology into our school curriculum and empowering our youths with the much- needed skills for tomorrow’s job through trainings, programmes and other activities became our immediate goal and a task that must be accomplished and sustained.

“The state government’s strategic designing and funding of the EKOEXCEL initiative, a transformational plan aimed at supporting teachers to achieve better learning outcomes in the classroom through training, supporting and motivating of our teachers, is a phenomena objective.

“It is our view that we will deliver a radical better learning outcome for our future leaders as the EKOEXCEL initiative will provide our schools with the technology based up skills, scientific- proven pedagogical approaches and a complete 360-degree support system that will beacon across educational strides.”

Adefisayo reiterated that EKOEXCEL was designed out of the government’s recognition of the fact that children in public primary schools in the state are going to live a different life than the life the older generation had.

She therefore charged the teachers to impact their students, while bringing to bare their professionalism. “The concise framework we have formulated that encapsulates our collective vision should be built upon as you give your best at all times. To whom much is given, much is expected.

“I urge you to rededicate yourselves and continually contribute your own quotas positively and responsively in this new drive to reform the education sector and take it to a higher pedestal,” the commissioner said.