Following the viral video on social media platforms where school pupils were shown observing assembly in a water-logged area, the Lagos State Government officials have visited the site of the orphanage and school operated by Mawumadoka Children Foundation at Oko-Agbon, off Iwaya Road, Makoko, promising to register the pupils in the six public schools within the community.
The Honourable Chairman, Lagos State House Assembly Committee on Education, Mr. Ganiyu Okanlawon Sanni, disclosed during a visit to the site that the Lagos State House of Assembly had invited the Mawumadoka Foundation officials and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and its agencies, on the issue.
He said the meeting resulted in a fact-finding mission to the community, alongside members of his Committee, Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, the Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Princess Adebowale Aderemi, Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Wahab Alawiye-King, and other top government officials.
According to him, “The Foundation owners said the viral video was shot by a team from a Church to raise funds for the rebuilding of the orphanage and the small space being used as school premises. The kids were asked to pose for the video in the dirty water to attract sympathy so that funds could be raised to rebuild the orphanage”.
“However, the orphanage had been demolished by the foundation and sand-filled to pave the way for a proposed new building by the time the team visited. Officials of the Church, who were present during the visit, confirmed that the video was shot in June this year and that the uniforms worn by the pupils were bought from the proprietress of a defunct school near the orphanage”, he added.
Sanni stated further that there are six public schools in the area but some parents prefer to send their wards to the orphanage, which incorporated school lessons as the population of the children continued to grow, stressing that many of the older children in the community attend Adekunle Primary School and other public schools around the area, but the Foundation retains the younger pupils.
He listed the identified six public schools in the area that will accommodate all the children, as part of the short term measure to ensure the children of the community have access to quality education, as Adekunle Anglican Primary School, Makoko Primary School, Ayetoro African Church Primary School, Fazil Omar Primary School, Ahmadiya Primary School and Talimu Islamiya Primary School.
On her part, the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, stated that the Makoko orphanage/school has thrown up once again the challenge posed by unregistered low-cost schools in parts of the State.
She said: “We are doing everything possible, through inter-agency collaboration, to ease the process of approval and getting the schools standardised; it is a cause of action this Government is seriously committed to. The State is also working with public and private institutions to support low-cost schools and give them access to resources and funding to improve their schools”.
Mrs. Adefisayo said the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Office of Civic Engagement, will continue to encourage residents to access quality education in public schools as provided by the State Government, while engaging members of the community on the need to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all school-age children in Makoko and other adjoining areas.