Babatunde fashola

Babatunde fashola

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday said he had sent one of his children to a carpenter’s workshop to learn vocational skills.

He spoke during the maiden edition of Governor’s Education Award held in Lagos on Thursday.

One hundred and twenty six schools that distinguished themselves in the utilisation of the Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project (Eko Project) were rewarded with N2m each by the state government.

The Lagos Eko project is part of the government’s effort at improving the overall quality of education and learning outcomes of pupils in the 629 junior and senior public schools in the state over four years.

Fashola told the audience that he was surprised that his son could not fix a plug after six years of sound post-primary education.

“I called my son and asked him, what do you want to do now that you have finished your secondary education? He replied, ‘I want to do something with my hand.

“And I asked him, can you fix a plug? He said no. Then, I knew there was a problem and we (my wife and I) decided to send him to a carpenter’s workshop to acquire some skills,’’ the governor said.
On the award, Fashola said that 126 junior and senior secondary schools, out of 628 schools in the state would receive an award of N2m each, towards the improvement of their schools.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola yesterday presented a cheque of N252 Million to 126 junior and senior secondary schools, who have displayed improved performances over a period of time in the first Governor’s Education Award, saying the Government has brought a system of competitive productivity into education.

Governor Fashola, who spoke at the 10 Degrees Event Centre located at Billingsway, Oregun, venue of the event, explained that with the competitiveness that the award will bring into the educational sector, the result would be for the benefit of all stakeholders in Lagos State.
The Governor said he was impressed by the enterprise displayed by the awardees who have shown commitment and determination to turn the huge investment of government in education into an improved learning outcome within a very short period.

He explained that the lucky 126 junior and senior secondary schools who won cash awards of Two Million Naira each were chosen out of 628 schools in the six educational districts in Lagos State.

The Governor also announced to the excitement of all present, additional awards of overseas training for the top two principals in each of the educational districts in the State.

He added that the overseas training will enable the principals to garner knowledge in best practices to improve their capabilities and also come back and share same with their colleagues.

Governor Fashola also announced the approval of guided tours for 20 students from the first 20 schools to two power projects of Akute and the Island Power Projects to get first hand experience on power generation because they would eventually come to take charge of such projects in the future.

The Governor expressed delight that the Eko Education Project enjoyed an unprecedented high rating from the World Bank, which is a partner in the project, adding that the highly satisfactory rating it got from the World body speaks volume.

The Lagos State helmsman who said he recognises the freedom of parents to make a choice between public and private schools for their children was assertive that Government will create an environment for public schools to favourably compete against private schools in terms of the quality of education.

Governor Fashola reiterated that already many public schools are excelling in academic competitions that had participation by private schools across the nation, noting that the spirit behind the Eko Education Project was to improve the quality of education, compel the Government as regulator to monitor the performances of the students, the schools and the teachers and encourage others to challenge themselves for greater heights.

Governor Fashola said in order to broaden the knowledge of the average student beyond school education, which he buttressed with a personal example and experience, students must experience broad based education, stressing that it would form the basis of the next categories of awards.

He reiterated his recognition of the impact of qualitative education as the strongest weapon to fight poverty and a useful pillar for nation building and economic prosperity, adding that if this feat was achieved before, the process can be recreated again with required political will.

The Governor said the administration has continued to give adequate attention to teachers’ welfare through increased salary, training and retraining, while each secondary school gets a direct fund of Three Million Naira annually for equipment, instructional materials and learning aids.

Governor Fashola said today the state has provided 2876 new classrooms in the state while in 2010 alone it provided 216 new classrooms, informing that a total of 308,430 units of furniture were delivered to all schools with the expectation of another 11,200 before the end of this year.

“N390 Million worth of science equipment has been supplied to encourage teaching and learning in the schools just as the Eko Project volunteers teachers scheme which has been widely applauded has injected about 20,520 hours per month into the schools system, which is an equivalent of 183 full time teachers”, he explained.

He also informed that a special intervention programme for 495 trainee- teachers to assist WASCE candidates with extra coaching was also introduced, adding that his attention was recently drawn to a protest by some of the trainees that government has not given them employment letters.

He revealed that he has approved the employment of the trainees, advising that when developments do not move as rapidly as people expect, agitation is the not the best option but rather a channeling of grievances within the system to know what was amiss.

“Our recently concluded report of school audit shows that we have exceeded the target of 50 students per classroom that we set in 2007 on the average because we are seeing an average of 42 students in our classrooms. This does not mean that in some places we do not have overcrowded classrooms; just as in some cases we have severely under-populated classrooms”, Governor Fashola stated.

He said what the report has done is to provide useful data which will now inform the policy for the situation and location of new schools as a methodical strategy to finally eliminate overcrowding now that it can identify and isolate the areas where the problem still persist.
The Governor recalled that at a time the problem was that of access when many young people were unable to get an opportunity to get an education, adding that in the last few years, the problem has been substantially surmounted with Lagos now having a literacy record of over 84percent.

He commended the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his vision and courage to start the journey while also acknowledging the role of several people including the immediate past Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Sosan, for her commitment to improving education and others like Commissioners, Special Advisers, Permanent Secretaries and many who have contributed to the journey.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Project Coordinator, Ms Ronke Azeez, said the Eko Education project is part of the effort aimed at improving the overall quality of education in Lagos State with the objective being improved learning outcomes of students in 629 junior and senior public secondary schools over four years.

She said another innovation by the Lagos Eko Project is the provision of a Report Card for every school, with the card giving detailed account of how a school has performed in relation to other schools, Local Government Areas, Education Districts and statewide, a programme which is unique to the Nigerian assessment system.

She revealed that during a recent discussion with Governor Fashola on the school performance award, he suggested additional criteria for the Governor’s Education Award to include the need for leaders of tomorrow to start early in life to imbibe transformational leadership traits which means students must excel in activities that would develop their team spirit, discipline, personal values, character development and critical thinking.