Fashola hosts Senate Committee on Education, pledges commitment to qualitative education
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (6th left), his Deputy, Hon. (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (5th right), in a group photograph with the Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije (5th left), Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (4th left), Senator representing Osun State Central Senatorial District, Senator Sola Adeyeye (6th right) and other members of the Senate Committee and Lagos State Executive Council during a courtesy call on Governor Fashola at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Monday, July 16, 2012.
WorldStage Newsonline-- Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday expressed the commitment of his administration to quality education in the State saying that although investments in the sector does not manifest immediately, the values are enduring.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Lagos House while playing host to the Senate Committee on Education led by its Chairman, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, said as a mark of this commitment, one of the recent policies that the State Government has implemented, is aimed at raising the quality of education in the State’s public schools.
Governor Fashola, who noted that the free education policy, enunciated many years ago in the State, was meant to enable people to read and write, added, “Now the literacy level in Lagos State is well above 85 percent, the highest in the country. But Lagos is not immune to the challenges that other States face which is the quality of education”.
“People can now read and write which is the problem free education sought to solve many years ago. But a new problem has arisen which is the quality of Education. So, having achieved basic literacy, we now need to deal with quality of the education we impact in our children”, the Governor said.
Giving details of the new policy on education, Governor Fashola said the first thing Government discovered was that the quality of education had hitherto been measured basically from grades at the terminal examination of pupils adding, “Nationally, we are not satisfied with what we see”.
“We just realized that in many parts, , students just moved from class to class without a benchmark; just with 30 percent they go to the next class and by the time they get to their terminal examinations, they are expected to score a minimum of 50 percent and they are dealing with that for the first time”, the Governor said.
According to him, as a way to deal with that flaw, “If a student does not meet a minimum basic of an average of 50 percent in his gross score and a minimum of 50 percent in English and Mathematics, he does not go to the next class for primary schools”.
“And then, we are also having parental involvement. A parent must attend a minimum of 90 percent of Parents’/Teachers’ Association meetings called in the school of his ward for that child to qualify for promotion to the next class”, the Governor further said.
Other aspects of the policy being implemented, according to the Governor, include meeting weekly with senior official that operates in the Education Sector, including all Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Commissioners, SUBEB representatives and others adding that the agenda of the meetings was usually to identify problem areas and proffer solutions as well as appoint those to implement such solutions.
“This is how we have carried on for quite a while. We have seen measured but steady progress and I think that we will get it right” the Governor said, adding that some of the challenges the Committee would likely meet while on their oversight function around the State’s schools would include overcrowded classrooms in some schools and under-utilized ones in others.
He explained further, “In the race to provide classrooms, we over-provided in some places and they are not fully utilized. But we now have data, so our intervention now is more scientific and more solution-driven”.
Governor Fashola told the Committee, “During the course of your visit, you will see the extent of our interventions in public schools at the Senior Secondary, Junior Secondary, Primary and Nursery levels. You will see teachers now much better equipped in term of teaching aids and that is largely because of the intervention that we have done with Eko’ Funds in collaboration with the World Bank”.
“But, perhaps more importantly, you will see that in the six Education Districts in Lagos, a Permanent Secretary and Tutor General, who is an experienced teacher who has risen to the rank of a principal and all that, is now administratively in charge of the whole District from top to bottom”, the Governor said, adding that their responsibility used to be limited to junior secondary level.
By their new status, the Governor further explained, the Tutors General take ownership of what happens in their Districts, adding, “What we are doing is to promote competition and to reward and also to sanction and to let that competitive environment create growth and ultimately human capital”.
The Governor paid glowing tribute to Senator (Mrs.) Oluremi Tinubu, a member of the Committee, for the work she has been doing in Abuja for the Education Sector in Lagos State adding, “The story is very good and this is the kind of representation one would want to see”. The Governor also recalled the Spelling Bee initiative while in office as First Lady adding that his administration has gone further to introduce the One-Day Governors to other aspects of Government life such as how drinking water is being produced, how electricity is being generated and also production in Agriculture.
Governor Fashola, who had earlier invited the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs. Gbolahan Dawodu, to explain the correct position on the Committee Chairman’s observation on the State’s counterpart funding for the UBE Fund, also clarified that the apparent delay insistence on certain standards noting that a letter from the Board would not have come if it was not satisfied that the State has properly exhausted what it has taken.
Wishing the Committee a fruitful execution of its functions, the Governor pledged to render every assistance that would enable the Committee carry out its job.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, said the Committee was in the State to begin its oversight functions in the Education Sector across the country adding that the Committee decided to begin its work from Lagos because the State is a pace setter in the Sector in the country in terms of free education, supply of books and teaching aids and others.
He said Governor Fashola has raised the level of good governance started by his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to the legacy of proactive governance adding that Senator Oluremi Tinubu, whom he described as “the most electrifying Senator”, was demonstrating the same vibrancy in the Senate.
Also present at the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke, Orelope-Adefulire, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed and his Information and Strategy Counterpart, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye among other members of the State Executive Council and other top government functionaries.