Fashola Launches Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project
• “We remain committed to improving Education standards”, he says
Mar 16, 2010 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday commissioned the Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project with a pledge that his administration is committed to working hard to continually improve the standard of Education in the State.
The Eko Secondary Education Project has the multiple objectives to improve the quality of Junior and Senior Secondary Education in Lagos State, improve grants to educational institutions, support technical and vocational education as well as sustain institutional reforms.
Addressing stakeholders of public schools’ education in the State including teachers, students, parents and guardians as well as supervisors and top government functionaries, at the LTV 8 Blue Roof venue of the launch, Governor Fashola said his administration is interested in ensuring the sustenance of the gradual but steady progress and recovery in the standard of education in the State.
Referring particularly to the performance level of the State’s public schools in the last West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations, Governor Fashola said although there is justifiable public concern about the performance, the results demonstrate a marked improvement from the previous performances.
According to him, “The truth is that those figures are not absolute; on the contrary, they demonstrate that things are beginning to head in the right directions when they are compared with where we were yesterday”, pointing out that between 2007 and 2009, the percentage of students who obtained five credits including Mathematics and English in the examination increased from 7.58 percent to 18.41 percent.
“We understand that cynics will cling to it as evidence of a smoking gun, but our responsibility is to share the facts with you”, he told the audience adding, “We are not a Government of quick fixes. We measure these signs of recovery in the education sector and remain committed to work hard to improve on it”.
Highlighting some of the steps taken by his administration to ensure qualitative education in the State, Governor Fashola, said when his administration at inception accepted the responsibility of implementing free and qualitative education in the State, it resolved never to let anything stand on its way to realizing this objective. He pointed out that it adopted a methodical approach including the identification of all the critical stakeholders who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the products of a successful education policy.
“We continued with policies of the previous administration of paying examination fees for WAEC and promoting the welfare of teachers through career enhancement opportunities of allowing them to reach the level of Permanent Secretaries in addition to pursuing an aggressive training regime”, the Governor said adding that a few weeks ago the Government concluded a training exercise for 1,570 teachers in the State.
He said because of its recognition of the role the private sector can play in the development of the sector, his administration also continued the policy of the return of schools to Christian and Muslim missions, expressing delight that the policy is yielding encouraging results.
Governor Fashola said the approach also include the introduction of new policies such as the Support-a-School Programme which enabled the administration to widen the opportunities for individuals and corporations to make acknowledged contributions to the sector.
“The Support-a-School Programme is a special purpose vehicle that has enabled individuals, corporations and societies to get involved, adopt schools, adopt classrooms and laboratories, and also spend time in ensuring that they are maintained”, the Governor said.
To ensure that the State’s Education Policy is not derailed, according to Governor Fashola, the administration also reviewed the standards for private schools and encouraged their operators to measure up to those standards adding, “We remain committed to ensuring that our schools compete with acknowledged private schools that are fee-paying by ensuring that public schools remain a destination where students and teachers alike must feel enthusiastic about attending”.
Other programmes already implemented or being implemented to improve the quality of education in public schools, according to the Governor are the provision of free textbooks, revival of Voluntary clubs and Societies like the Boys’ Scout and Red Cross, the schools Debate and Quiz Competitions as well as the continuation of the Spelling Bee Competition initiated by former First Lady, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu and the Lagos Empowerment And Resource Network initiated by the incumbent First Lady, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola.
Also executed or being executed are the rehabilitation of old schools and construction of new ones across the State as well as the provision of tables, chairs and desks for teachers and students in primary and secondary school in pursuit of the objective of the administration to ensure that no pupil in the State’s school is without a table and chair before the end of the year.
Describing the Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project as a major intervention created by the Government to transform performance of all the 620 public Junior and Senior Secondary Schools and the technical colleges, Governor Fashola said the project is a four year programme developed with the World Bank funding support of $90 million to address Government’s priority for human capital development.
“This fund is to augment what schools currently receive”, the Governor said pointing out that through the project, the State Government will re-energize secondary schools education by providing extra funding of N2million to N3 million directly to each of the secondary and technical schools.
The Governor expressed gratitude to the World Bank for its continued assistance to the State in the improvement of education. He also expressed appreciation to the Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Sosan and all the Education supervisors for the tremendous work they are doing in upholding the standard of education in the state.
In his goodwill message, the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu praise Governor Fashola and his administration for the giant strides being made in the State especially in the areas of Education and beautification.
Describing the Eko Education Project as timely, the Minister declared, “It is a demonstration of the high premium Lagos State Government places on Education. The determination of Lagos State Government to adequately promote and enhance the quality of Education is praise-worthy and commendable. One hopes that other states in the Federation would in due course, emulate the visionary initiative of Lagos State Government in this direction”.
World Bank Country Director in the State, Mr. Onno Ruhl, in his goodwill message said the project would put money into the hands of implementers of the State’s Education policies to enable them realize the goals of the policy.
Commending Governor Fashola for his vision and commitment to qualitative education in the State, Ruhl expressed the commitment of the World Bank to work with the Lagos State Government to make available the opportunities the children need to realize their potentials.
Earlier in her Welcome address, the Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Sosan said the Project is in line with Government’s efforts to position the children in the public schools for academic excellence adding that trhe teachers are not left out in the process.
She thanked the World Bank for their interest and support for educational development of the State giving assurance that measures have been put in place to guarantee successful implementation of the Project.
Also present at the occasion were members of the State Executive Council, Traditional Rulers, some members of the State House of Assembly and the Project Coordinator, Ms Ronke Azeez who gave a 20 minute video documentary and presentation of the achievements and progress of the administration in the Education Sector, among other top Government functionaries.