Fashola Commissions 103 New Classrooms In One Day
• Appeals to parents, guardians to get involved in education of their children
Jun 10, 2010 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday commissioned a total of 103 new and rehabilitated classrooms at the Ikeja Military Cantonment and Agidingbi Grammar School with a plea to parents and guardians in the State to get involved in the education of their children.
Eighty-two of the commissioned classrooms, encapsulated in eight blocks, were rehabilitated and renovated blocks of classrooms which were destroyed in 2002 by a bomb disaster at the Ikeja Cantonment while the remaining 21 classrooms comprising a single block were commissioned at the Agidingbi Grammar School in Ojodu LCDA.
In his address at the two events, Governor Fashola told parents and guardians, "The education of children is a necessary obligation of parenting. It is not enough to leave it to teachers alone. It is also not enough to provide uniform, food and materials. You must invest your time. You are the mirror through which your children see life".
"Please help them with their homework, visit their schools without notice and see what they are doing and what condition it is being done", the Governor pleaded adding, "If you invest your time in their education, it will be clear to them that you take it seriously and I am certain that they will take it seriously".
Governor Fashola said the commissioning of the model classroom blocks was a demonstration of his administration's resolve to implement its belief that people are its greatest resource and asset pointing out that every investment made in people "is an investment for the future".
"It is an investment that ensures the ability of Lagos to renew itself as long as our people are healthy, skillful and dignified. We have resolved, as a Government, to develop a proud people, a people who are confident and dignified. We believe that only skilled people and those who have dignity will be better able to work with us to banish poverty from our land", the Governor said.
According to the Governor, such skilled people, "will be able to employ themselves and others to contribute in a competitive way to the growth of our economy and society", adding that the event represented Government's resolve "to fight poverty in the most enduring way known to our civilization, through education".
Noting that his administration has in the last three years and eleven days worked very hard to fulfill its promises to the electorate, Governor Fashola declared, ""We have done so much more than I can recount, but today we have gathered here to hand over two sets of projects that represent models of what we have been doing".
Of the eight blocks of classrooms at the Ikeja Cantonment, Governor Fashola said, "These eight blocks represent models of the 253 blocks consisting of 3, 885 classrooms across the State that we have renovated and rehabilitated", adding that the single block of 21 classrooms in Agidingbi "represents the model of brand new schools that we are building across the State".
"This represents the model of various designs of 126 new schools block buildings consisting 1,412 classrooms that we have built afresh to add to the existing stock of classrooms in the education sector of the Lagos Community", the Governor said adding that teachers and students have already moved in and are putting the schools to use.
The Governor said the day's event was "a strategic opportunity to communicate to our people that we are making tremendous progress in transforming our public schools to destinations that students and teachers, who are the prime stakeholders, will want to attend, as the first critical step towards rekindling interest of our children and teachers in education".
He said each of the rehabilitated or newly built classrooms would sit not more than 50 pupils in the first instance adding, however, that the number would be gradually reduced in each classroom as the on-going auditing of schools and classroom facilities as well as their distribution across the State are completed.
The Governor said with the successful stemming of the shortage of classrooms, the next step is to focus on efficient distribution of classrooms "to ensure that there is a good public school close to home of every child of school age and within reasonable walking distance".
Governor Fashola expressed gratitude to members of the Private Sector, who, according to him, have helped, to close the infrastructural gap in the education sector through the "Adopt a School" programme of the present administration adding that this has helped to deepen Government's working relations with the Christian and Muslim Missions who have invested in education, adding that there has been noticeable return of and improvement in standards.
Pointing out that investment in Education has a long term yield curve in its return, Governor Fashola declared, "Your Government in Lagos State is not a Government of quick fixes, because we are a Government that that has found the courage to investigate, analyze and develop solution to problems. We are comfortable with the investment we make because the returns will outlive us and secure the future of Lagos".
The Governor said Government has also embarked on a project that would deliver desks and chairs to all public schools adding that his administration has ordered 171, 119 desks and chairs in the first phase out of which 171, 109 have been delivered while Government intends, in the second and final phase, to order 166, 219 "based on the data of needs in all schools statewide that we gathered".
Government, Governor Fashola said, is also undertaking policy and personnel reform in the education sector by providing training for teachers, rewarding performance, providing incentive allowances and improving on their classroom management capacity and skills, adding that Government is also using sports, vocational clubs, holiday jobs, school debates, Spelling Bee programmes as part of strategies to make school attractive to young people.
On the issue of national examinations, Governor Fashola expressed joy that tremendous improvement is being recorded in the number of successful candidates in the State since 2007 pointing out that whereas 5, 080 students, representing 7.58 percent of the candidates for NECO Examination passed with five credits in Mathematics and English in 2007, the number increased to 6, 840 students or 10.41 percent in 2008 and 11, 432 students or 18.41 percent in 2009.
He said while it is the usual thing all over the world for students to be weak in some subjects and strong in others, the State Government is, however, "working on strategies that will help us assist weak students who just require more attention adding that in the past, there were remedial colleges which offered such assistance to this category of students.
In his welcome address at the two events, the Commissioner for Housing, Prince Dele Onabokun, said the present administration has more than proved itself capable of meeting the educational needs of the State adding that the quality of infrastructure being provided in the sector can compete with any such infrastructure worldwide.
He said the rehabilitation of the Ikeja Military Cantonment Command school was in line with the resolve of the present administration to deliver quality education to the people of Lagos State.
Also present at the two events were the Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, , the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Mr. Tunde Balogun and his Rural Development and Chieftaincy Affairs counterpart, Mr. Rotimi Agunsoye, other members of the State Executive Council, Special Adviser on Education, Dr. Elijah Adewale, Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo as well as other top Government functionaries.