Features Write-Ups

LAGOS AND THE REVIVAL OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

Aladeotan Adeola

Good and well structured educational system is one of the vital factors in the socio-economic development of any nation. Education is regarded as critical instrument in the battle against poverty and ignorance. It empowers the individual with necessary knowledge and set of skills to actualize potential and maximize opportunities in life.  It is for this reason that governments across the world devote a good chunk of available resources to the development of the educational sector.

In Nigeria, Lagos is arguably the State with the highest number of public schools, students and teachers. It has consistently been churning out the highest number of candidates for public examinations in Nigeria since 1967.  As a melting point with a bourgeoning population in excess of 24 million, provision of qualitative education in Lagos State has been a daunting task.

However, one peculiarity about Lagos as with other mega cities is that work and investment on infrastructure as well as human and physical development is always work in progress. The current administration in the state clearly understands that the task of making Lagos State “the model of excellence in the provision of education in Africa” requires meticulous attention.

To this end, the sum of 92.4 billion naira, representing 11.37 was allocated to education sector in the State budget for 2017. Presently, Lagos provides free education to over One Million pupils/students in 1,010 primary schools with a population of about 497,318 pupils; 670 Junior and Senior Secondary Schools with a population of about 564,758 students and 5 Technical and Vocational Schools across the state.

There is nothing we are competent in that does not require deliberate effort, sacrifice or quality time to Succeed. The Akinwunmi Ambode led administration has shown total commitment to the development of the education sector in Lagos State since it came on board in 2015.

The result has been quite visible in the area of infrastructure development in public schools across the stat. Presently, new model schools are being constructed across the state with facilities such as football pitch, basket ball and lawn tennis courts, classrooms, laboratories, multipurpose halls, Libraries and spacious car parks. Some of these new model colleges are Angus Memorial High School, Somolu, Awori College, Ojo and Lagos City College, Sabo-Yaba. The main aim of bringing them on board is to improve teaching and learning in Lagos State.

Similarly, the state government is equally working assiduously to construct new blocks of classrooms in public schools across the state. This is being done along with construction of perimeter fence, construction of watch tower as well as lightening up of schools at night in all the model colleges. Quite a number of these projects had been completed while others are in progress. A few of these new projects has been officially commissioned. This includes Girls Junior Model College, Agunfoye and a newly Constructed block of 20 classrooms at the Anglican Primary School, Isawo in Ikorodu to mention but a few.

Meanwhile, Government has directed the policy toward ensuring equal educational opportunity in the State, encourage parents who might otherwise neglect their children’s education to send their children to school and making education affordable for everyone.

In line with the commitment of the present administration to expand access to knowledge for Lagosians, the State’ science laboratories are now better equipped and the enthusiasm of students to be science inclined has become very high with a lot of success recorded. Equally, the state government has completed the renovation and upgrade of public libraries in eighteen secondary schools across the State with top class facilities. Lagos Digital Library, an online repository of education content, was commissioned in 2017.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode himself had the second best result in WAEC in 1981, it is, thus, not surprising that his administration is according education the utmost priority in the scheme of things. Cheerfully, the investment of the state government in education is steadily paying off as evident in the performance of the pupils of Lagos state public schools in external and internal examinations and competitions.

For instance, the state team again emerged as 2nd overall best state at the 2017 National Junior Engineers, Technicians and scientist (JETS) competition held in Lagos. The state won 10 trophies and 10 medals at the event and out of the 10 trophies, the public school students won seven trophies. Additionally, a student of Lagos State Senior Model College, Igbokuta emerged as the winner of the state final of annual Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) completion for schools in Nigeria.

It is, therefore, not in any way surprising that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was recently named the Best Teacher-Friendly Governor of the Year during the last World Teachers Day celebration of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Abuja.

In order to sustain current tempo of progress being made in the education sector, the state government, showing total commitment to education development, earmarks N126.302 billion, representing 12.07 percent higher than N92.400 billion) what was appropriated last year. To further strengthen the education sector, Governor Ambode recently signed the Lagos Teaching Service Commission Bill into Law. The Law provides the establishment of Lagos State Teaching Service Commission for the control and management of the teaching service matters and connected purposes. The commission is to take care of all teachers’ matters and ensure that only professionals and qualified personnel will engage in teaching in Lagos State. The main intent is to prevent infiltration into the teaching profession.

Lagos State is a Smart City and the third largest Economy in Africa by 2020. There is no doubt that the Akinwunmi Ambode led administration is laying a solid foundation for Lagosians and its populace by not only developing Lagos State infrastructural wise, but also focusing and investing heavily in Education which is the key to the future.

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