As the world marks International Literacy Day today, September 8, the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board’s (LASUBEB) EKOEXCEL has promised to continue innovatively transforming primary schools while intensifying efforts to reduce the over two million out-of-school children in the state.
Executive Chairman of LASUBEB, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King said that having achieved remarkable successes since its inauguration in 2019, EKOEXCEL was poised to do more in line with the theme of the 2022 celebration, ‘Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces: Exploring Opportunities and Possibilities’.
Hon Alawiye-King, who noted that literacy enriches an individual’s life and creates opportunities to develop skills to provide for oneself, said this was why Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration had committed significant resources to its development.
“Governor Sanwo-Olu is a firm believer in the enriching power of education. He knows it is what the 21st century Lagos needs in its development quest, hence the dedication to its improvement. This is why he inaugurated our transformational intervention, EKOEXCEL and has continued to back us to equip children who are our future.
“He knows that quality education for our children is crucial to making Lagos a 21st-century economy and that we must cast our nets far and wide to catch those not in school yet. That way, they don’t become a problem for society. This informs our Project Zero for out-of-school children, among other initiatives.”
The LASUBEB Chairman further expressed happiness that EKOEXCEL’s teaching and learning solutions positively impact pupils and teachers, improving learning outcomes.
Three pupils from the state excelled in the last National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE). While the overall best student in the NCEE conducted by the National Examinations Council (NECO) scored 201 out of 210, three pupils of Lagos public primary schools were just five points behind.
Apart from the trio, other EKOEXCEL pupils also had good scores. Of 53 pupils tracked and ascertained to have registered for the NCEE, 32 had excellent grades.
Similarly, The EKOEXCEL 2020-2021 Endline Fluency and Numeracy Evaluation showed that EKOEXCEL pupils are making remarkable progress in oral reading fluency and foundational numeracy compared to their performance before the initiative’s commencement.
It further showed that an average Primary 3 EKOEXCEL pupil is now reading at nearly the same fluency level as an average Primary 5 pupil from before the launch of the EKOEXCEL programme.
On average, EKOEXCEL Primary 2-3 pupils are outperforming 13 other country contexts on the International Common Assessment of Numeracy (ICAN) while Primary 4-6 rank third out of 14 country contexts on the same numeracy assessment.
Crucially, the evaluation affirms that EKOEXCEL is both improving learning over what existed before and is itself continuing to improve learning with the program, over time.
The study, which was conducted in July 2021 involved researchers administering two assessments to primary 1-6 pupils.
The tests were an oral reading fluency assessment (using a Primary 2 passage and a grade-level passage) and a foundational numeracy assessment (using the International Common Assessment of Numeracy, or ICAN).
Four research questions guided the evaluation. The first was: “The global pandemic led to learning loss nearly everywhere. How did it affect EKOEXCEL pupils’ performance in literacy?
The assessment found that since a baseline oral reading fluency evaluation in Lagos State public schools in 2019 (before the launch of EKOEXCEL), pupils have made outstanding progress across all grade levels. 2021 pupils are reading an average of 311% more correct words per minute compared with their 2019 pre-EKOEXCEL counterparts, with the largest gains among Primary 1 pupils.
EKOEXCEL has also significantly increased pupils’ learning outcomes and drastically reduced the number of out-of-school children in the state by enrolling them in schools through the ‘Leave No Child Behind’ policy.’
LASUBEB, which oversees EKOEXCEL organises public awareness campaigns to educate parents and guardians on enrolling their wards in public schools to secure their future and reduce the number of out-of-school children in the state every new session.