Driven by the passion to deliver best practices in the area of education, a group known as Concerned Parents & Educators Network (CPE) has asked the Lagos State government to embrace a six-point action-plan that will enhance the quality of education for our children and also benefit all stakeholders in the sector come 2020.
This was the focus of discussion recently when the group paid a courtesy visit to the State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo to pledge their support and seek ways in which the Concerned Parents & Educators Network (CPE) can partner with the Ministry to improve the standard of education in Lagos State.
Speaking with the Commissioner, the delegation, which included Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, Founder, CPE, Mrs Joke Lai-Babatunde, a member of the board of trustees, Mrs Ibitoye Chukwuka, a Legal practitioner, expressed concern over the present state of affairs in the sector and indicted its willingness to help drive initiatives that can bring about positive change in the education sector.
The group further recommended a six-point action-plan to drive the much-needed change. This, according to her requires-
- Implementation of a functional and practical curriculum for public schools, which the private schools would be able to voluntarily adopt. CPE proposes that all children in public schools must have access to some form of technology in their lessons and subjects, adding that animations, graphics, robotics and the likes should be included in the curriculum.
- The Enforcement of Class Six for all pupils in primary school and SSCE 3 for secondary school students to ensure they take full advantage of the school curriculum and are well grounded before they move to the next level of their academic career, especially at the primary level. “Today, Primary Four and Five are becoming extinct in schools and this calls for concern. In addition, the issue of the age consideration in placing children in classes should be structured such that the child finishes Primary Six at age Eleven and SSS3 at age Seventeen.”
- Restoration of public schools in their common ground. The group upholds that we need the assistance of various alumni associations and CSR initiative performing body. This is most expedient today so that facilities would be upgraded for the use of students. Such facilities include libraries, laboratories, landscaping and beautification, hygiene and sanitation facility etc.
The group noted that a quick way these can be achieved is by setting up a plan in the office of the Commissioner for Education where interested parties can send in their proposals; the proposals of what they intend to do and for which school. All these should be at no cost to the state government.
- The Drug pandemic in public schools; the easy access the students have to all manner of drugs from tobacco to alcohol etc come as a question to those at the highest level of government.
“We propose that the government ban the sale of all intoxicating substance within a certain proximity of schools and heavy sanctions imposed on whoever is found wanting in these regard”, said the spokesperson, adding that “regular drug-abuse seminar should be held in schools by the Lagos State Ministry of Health. Schools should be encouraged to set up drug-free clubs who will keep up the sensitization campaign amongst their peers.”
- Attention should be given to all the schools and facilities set up for special need children, even as there is continuous training of staff, provision of up-to-date equipment and infrastructures, medical assistance where necessary and so on.
- Lastly, the group admits that all the suggestions highlighted above cannot be achieved if the teachers themselves are not properly trained and therefore demands that public school teachers be trained to teach with technology and not to teach technology. “
To achieve this, the necessary tools must be made available to teachers; teachers must be encouraged to own quality laptops and tablets and Lagos State can help facilitate this through partnership with ICT companies for payment in instalments and provision of necessary support in the schools.
While acknowledging that these recommendations, if adopted would go a long way to make Lagos State a transformation model for Nigeria in the area of education, the group noted that implementation would require partnership with corporate organizations that are willing to support such projects.
In her response, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisoye emphasized that “Lagos State is currently working on a Curriculum that will help lay good foundation for our children.” While promising to align with the vision of Concerned Parents & Educators Network, she urged parents to cooperate with government policies as they are designed for the total development of their children.
Touching specifically on the issue of students being well grounded before they move to the next level of their academic career, Adefisoye condemned the fact that parents are sometimes in a hurry to get their children through school that they do not allow the children follow due process.
“Sometimes I tell parents who want their fourteen year old in the university that it is not ideal. The tertiary institution is a very busy and complex environment. In America students are Eighteen when they enter the University. Even in the United Kingdom it is the same, so there is absolutely no reason for the pressures parents often mount on their wards and even teachers.”
Adefisayo also urged well meaning Nigerians and corporate organizations to support the drive for the restoration of standards in public schools by investing in infrastructural development such as donation of furniture and books, renovation of building, provision of water and other facilities to make the environment conducive for learning.
Touching on the drug pandemic, she said “there are certain committees coming up, young people coming together to see how we can handle this issue problem and also attend to children with special needs”.
The group further pledged its commitment to engage more parents and teachers in the campaign for proper standards and also support this administration in every capacity that it can.
The meeting ended with the presentation of a special award to Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, Honourable Commissioner for Education, Lagos State in recognition of her immense contribution and commitment to the education sector in Nigeria.