Int’l Education Day: How Lagos prioritises education by investing in people through EKOEXCEL

January 24, 2023

Education is believed to be a lethal weapon to conquer poverty by developing needful skills that will make people wealthy and self-sufficient.

With this knowledge Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State and his team have demonstrated a great understanding of what it means to build human capacity via education by investing heavily in people of the state through EkoExcel.

Sanwo-Olu’s investment in the people through EkoExcel is in tandem with the theme of the 2023 International Education Day; “to invest in people, prioritize education” to be celebrated on Tuesday, January 24.

International Day of Education (IED) is an annual international observance day held on January 24 and is dedicated to education. The 2023 edition is the fifth of the event that commenced in 2018.

And to commemorate this year’s IED Misan Thorpe, a Lagos-based educationist in his assessment of the education sector in Lagos applauds the efforts of the state in uplighting the living standard of the people through education.

Thorpe examined that the governor has never ceased to affirm his administration’s commitment to providing quality and 21st-century relevant education and his affirmation and confirmation in several of his speeches that

“Education is not just a pillar in one of our THEMES agenda; it is one of the major dividends of democracy and the cardinal objectives of anything government.

We see education as one of the tools that can end poverty in our system. We see it as one of the areas that can be fixed for generations to come,” the governor reiterated at the 2022 Lagos State education summit.

Moreover, Thorpe reiterated that the governor does not just mouth off about providing quality education, alluding that his track record of performance since assuming office in 2019, with several proof points, speaks for him.

Lagos State has executed 1,400 projects since the inception of Sanwo-Olu’s administration. Besides, the state employed over 7,000 teachers to replace our fast-ageing teachers.

According to Folasade Adefisayo, commissioner for education in a brief scorecard at the state’s education summit, “Lagos State teachers are the best paid in Nigeria.

“Lagos’ laser focus on improving the quality and well-being of teachers alongside pupils would have warmed the heart of UNESCO, the UN’s education arm, which regularly campaigns for quality investment in education.

“The priority to human – pupils and teachers- development also aligns with the theme of this year’s IDE, ‘Investing in people, prioritising education.’

Despite the global growth rate, some societies still sadly dismiss education as unnecessary. But the IDE is a call to action. It notes that inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all will help countries achieve gender equality and break the cycle of poverty.

This is incredibly comforting as children and youth are out of school, with 771 million adults illiterate. To arrest the slide in the education sector and fulfil his promise of providing Lagosians with quality education, the Lagos State government has focused on human capital development through strategic interventions, including the renowned EKOExcel, that has attracted global commendation.

Thousands of government teachers and school leaders have been re-trained. They are now supported to teach digitally and scientifically across all the State’s public primary schools.

The technology enables world-class quality lessons, specifically designed to maximise learning, to be delivered by all teachers. It also provides real-time monitoring from every classroom in every school.

Sanwo-Olu once explained that the EkoExcel leaders know each lesson is a high-quality one and can track not only student performance but a whole range of other crucial indicators, as

“We have been able to have tablets that are given to teachers at primary schools for them to have the same learning curriculum. They have the same lesson notes. And it ensures that we can reduce absenteeism, truancies, and even teachers not coming. We can remotely monitor them and see who is teaching what and the quality of teaching across primary schools,” he said.

The project has upskilled public primary school head teachers and teachers from analogue to digital teaching, using tablets and updated curricula.

It has also captured all 1,012 public primary schools and enhanced the teacher-pupil interaction experience through technology (eLearning) in Lagos State primary schools.

Apart from introducing technology, he maintained that Lagos does not joke with the welfare of teachers and has introduced reward schemes, including the annual teachers’ merits awards and strategic partnerships and support for the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), the professional association of teachers.

To this effect, Akintoye Hassan, chairman of the Lagos State National Union of Teachers ( NUT) could not but praise the way his members have been supported by the state government.

“EKOEXCEL has brought about change as teaching and learning have become more pupil-centred. As you are teaching, you are also learning. The innovative technology has also enabled the teacher to learn because there is guidance,” he said.

Alhaji Abubakar, a bureau de change operator expressed his joy for the benefits his children got from the programme.

“My three children in primary four, two and kindergarten are doing well. I go to their school to check up with their teachers and am happy with their performance,” Abubakar said.

There is no doubt that the governor is aware of the transformational abilities of quality education, and he gives pupils a more optimistic future while upskilling their teachers for a beneficial 21st-century education system with the highly effective EkoExcel.

This article appeared originally on Business Day, Jan 24, 2023.