Fashola Flags Off Solar Powered Panel For Uninterrupted Power Supply In Lagos Schools
…Says 172 to be installed in secondary schools across Lagos, as Ambode reiterates continuity of quality development programmes
Jan 20, 2015 - In a bid to continue to improve the learning environment of schools and give children better access to education, Lagos State has introduced Solar powered panels in public schools to give the students and their teachers uninterrupted power supply.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Tuesday inaugurated the first of the panels installed in Model College, Meiran promising that 172 of such panel would be installed in different secondary schools across the State in the first phase.
The Governor, speaking at the school in Meiran, Agbado Oke- Odo Local Council Development Area said it is the State's answer to the failure of steady public power supply and also part of adaptation in order to respond to current global environmental challenges on reducing carbon dioxide emissions across the world.
He explained that the school would now be powered by renewable energy and that with very reliable maintenance, the unit would serve the College for the next 25 years.
He added that the project would cover all the schools in the State and some critical health facilities, saying "We have done the one for the Epe Health Centre last week. We are flagging off today the first one of the 172 schools that are in the first phase".
The Governor commended the Tutor Generals for their contributions and urged the students to continue to work hard, adding that he is proud of the progress that has been made since 2007.
He expressed satisfaction at the performance of students who, have done well, saying, "Some see it as failure and that is the advertisement that you get but I am proud that from 7percent we have climbed to 45 percent pass. We got on that ladder and we will get to the top of that ladder and this investment will help us consolidate those gains and now provide reliable internet services that already are existing in your schools"
"The reason why some of you have had connectivity problem is that Federal Government failed to provide power. We have solved the power problem and therefore you would now have reliable internet services", he stated.
In her address while conducting the Governor round the facility, the General Manager of Eko Electricity Project, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi said, the facility would give the pupils improved access to the internet.
She added that the facility which has been provided in conjunction with EKO Project would serve as an outdoor resource room where all the pupils are able to have all their textbooks on a tablet and can also go online to check different things and different books.
She explained that through the project, the EKO project has also established a partnership with Google which would allow global students who would have access to all the different projects as well as all the titles from primary through secondary to tertiary level which the students can always go back to and check on their titles and the different ways things work.
In an interview after the commissioning, Governor Fashola said the new initiative is a planned and organized approach to resuscitating education from its challenges.
He added that it started in 1999 with rebuilding the schools, rebuilding the classrooms, furniture, books, teacher training welfare, and now the results have improved as a result of it.
He stressed that apart from the fact that the world is moving on and the ability of Nigeria to leapfrog with technology is dependent on technology and electricity and that one can buy all of the technology in the world and connect to the internet or the hotspot but what is uppermost is how to get electricity to power it.
"But they, as you may have heard from our opponent in this election, claim that they would connect us to hotspots but they have not told you how to have power which is the primary responsibility that they have as a party in charge of the Federal Government".
"We are out thinking them, out working them and we are deploying solar panels to all schools in Lagos state by strategic partnership, they complain about debts but this is what that money does. This is the investment and 172 schools in the first phase would get this. You have seen the digital library that we have created and there are tablets powered directly from the sun and stored in inverters and batteries here", he stressed.
He reiterated that while opponents condemn the results in public examinations, the State sees them as progress because for her it is a journey from 7 percent to 45 percent pass and one of increasing confidence in public schools.
He added that over 50 percent of people now say they prefer their children to attend public schools at primary school while over 60 percent say that they prefer them in public secondary schools compared to the number available before.
"That is progress. Progress is not an overnight thing, it is a journey planned so that is where we are. So the next step now is how we can improve on that. We think technology would help but the technological equipment is of no use without electricity and so they now have electricity for daytime use, they also have electricity for night time use because this is also a boarding school and we have retrofitted all of their light fittings with emission light dial bulbs which conserve little energy", he explained.
He said the Solar project is about sustaining what the State Government has been able to achieve, adding that credence has been given by the testimonies of the teachers that EKO Project has brought a lot of benefits to the public schools in Lagos.
"Through EKO Project, the schools now have their own budget and that helps them to manage their premises, their classrooms and their request and this is about centralizing management capacity".
"The teachers should not just be expected to just mark, set scripts, they can also administer their schools because this is part of their training from either the Colleges of Education or the Universities and this helps to professionalize the teaching career itself", he maintained.
Also speaking during the interview, the All Progressives Congress Gubernatorial Candidate in the State, Mr Akniwunmi Ambode who was also at the handing over ceremony said Lagos has established a tradition of excellence and that his main message is about continuity of that tradition.
He said the people of Lagos do not want to tag along or be subjected to a situation where their leader would come and practice governance of trial and error, adding that the state has made tremendous progress in education which would be continued.
The event was witnessed by members of the State Executive Council including the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba, Special Adviser on EKO Project, Ms Ronke Azeez and teaching staff of the institution among others.