International Literacy Day: Sanwo-Olu’s EKOEXCEL is transforming literacy, numeracy in public schools

September 7, 2023

In commemoration of International Literacy Day, observed on the 8th of September the effort of EKOEXCEL at improving Literacy and Numeracy skills among pupils in Lagos State owned schools must be commended.

This initiative of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu started in 2019, has emerged as an example of how literacy and numeracy can be revitalised to build a brighter future for thousands of children.

UNESCO’s International Literacy Day was introduced to spotlight the crucial role of literacy in transforming societies and fostering peace and sustainability. Unfortunately, Africa has grappled with low literacy rates for years, with Nigeria being no exception. Statistics have indicated that a significant portion of the Nigerian population struggles with literacy, hindering social and economic development.

In a recent interview on EKO FM, Comrade Akintoye Hassan, Chairman of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Lagos Chapter, emphasised that literacy forms the bedrock of education. He acknowledged that literacy begins at home, with mothers playing a pivotal role in shaping a child’s future through proper nutrition and early engagement with learning materials.

Hassan also highlighted the changing societal values, noting that teachers’ importance has sometimes been overlooked. Yet, he expressed hope that programs like EKOEXCEL are working diligently to restore the reverence and admiration that educators deserve.

Nduka Akujobi, EKOEXCEL support team Director of Academics who was also present at the interview, provided insights into the program’s remarkable impact. Despite a UNICEF report revealing concerns about learning levels in Nigeria, Lagos State has been actively addressing these issues. Akujobi explained how the program has transformed learning environments into joyful and technology-driven spaces.

One of the most remarkable achievements showcased during this International Literacy Day celebration is the substantial improvement in literacy and numeracy levels among primary school pupils in Lagos State. Prior to the launch of EKOEXCEL in 2019, 40% of primary school pupils in the state were unable to read a single word. Within three years, this statistic has been halved, with only 19% of pupils unable to read a single word.

These outcomes underscore the efficacy of EKOEXCEL’s contemporary teaching methodologies and Lagos State’s commitment to prioritising education. The program’s positive reinforcement approach, which discourages corporal punishment and rewards good behaviour in the classroom, has played a pivotal role in achieving significant progress.

Additionally, the Lagos State government has consistently updated the curriculum to meet global standards, ensuring that pupils are well-equipped to compete on the global stage.

On this International Literacy Day, Comrade Akintoye Hassan’s interview on EKO FM stands as a powerful testament to the EKOEXCEL program’s transformative impact on education in Lagos State. The journey to enhancing literacy and numeracy levels continues, but the remarkable progress made thus far underscores the dedication of educators and the state government’s commitment to delivering quality education to all.

In addition to these achievements, it’s worth noting that the 2023 National Common Entrance Examination saw pupils from Lagos State public primary schools excel. Eighteen pupils under the EKOEXCEL program participated in the examination, with an impressive 50% of them scoring 70% and above. The top-performing pupils have not only excelled but have also brought pride and recognition to Lagos State, solidifying its position as a leader in educational excellence.

The best performing pupils, once again put Lagos State and EKOEXCEL on the map with their exceptional results, running closely behind the national best pupil who scored 203 over 210.
The top three EKOEXCEL pupils, all girls, Ololade Ganiyat of St Mary’s Convent Primary School, Ugwu Victoria of Enitan Primary School and Chima Faith Mesomachukwu from Community Nursery & Primary School Ijeododo achieved exceptional scores of 199, 191, and 185 respectively.

As UNESCO International Literacy Day 2023 is commemorated, EKOEXCEL’s journey in improving literacy and numeracy is worth highlighting.

The program’s successes, evidenced by improved learning outcomes and better performance in national examinations, highlight its pivotal role in building a brighter future.

This article appeared originally on The Nation, September 7, 2023