Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gov. Fashola At Support Our School Initiative, charges Sponsors to Also Invest In Training Of teachers

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (2nd right), presenting the Initiative Corporate Social Responsibility Award to the Group Managing Director, Rose of Sharon, and Group/Executive Vice Chairman, Famfa Oil Ltd, Mrs. Folorunso Alakija (right) during the Breakfast Meeting on Support Our Schools Initiative and Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, at the City Hall, Lagos on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. With him are: Commissioner for Education Barr. Olayinka Oladunjoye (2nd left) and the Chairman, House Committee on Education Hon. Alawiye King (left).
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday hosted corporate bodies, high networth people and other opinion leaders in the society to another breakfast meeting and Corporate Social Responsibility Awards under the Support Our Schools Initiative, charging the Corporate and Individual sponsors to consider also investing in the training of teachers.

The Governor who spoke at the City Hall, Lagos, venue of the annual education forum added that the sponsors should take a closer look at teachers in certain schools as well as all schools and the classes the same way it has been done in the “Adopt A School” initiative.

He commended the Adopt A School initiative, which, he said, has done a lot in terms of bricks and mortars, in terms of laboratories and equipment, adding “now can we move some of those forms into the minds of the teachers and into the abilities of the teachers”, he stressed.

He said government on its part will not stop in engaging on training of the over 31,000 teachers who are made up of 12,000 in the primary school level, all requiring to be trained and about 21000 at the secondary level, adding that the State has spent over half a Billion Naira on training alone between 2010 and 2013.

He maintained that it has helped to improve the learning environment, as there are now better schools, adding that government has also developed a maintenance program for all the state’s schools.

“There is now a standard template for fixing broken windows and broken chairs, bulbs and so on and in our last meeting we have given all teachers the responsibility to ensure that every teacher indexes in that form what is wrong in each or her classroom and it must be forwarded to the school principal to collate and sign and then goes to the district and then to the ministry of works”.

“As we go into this critical curve, by the end of April and May every year our contractors should mobilize and at the end of June and July, contractors would have moved in and replaced all what is damaged or broken and students can come back every September into refitted classrooms”, he stressed.

He said whatever role that the Support Our Schools partners can play either as mothers, fathers, guardians sponsors would help, especially on the teachers whose well being requires more intervention.

The Governor said the administration is on its way to delivering its promise to delivering professional cadre teachers and that one of the policy initiative it intends to discuss is to elevate the status of the college of educations both for primary and secondary education into university status such that they become degree awarding institutions like the Lagos State University.

“We are clear that the skills that are required for teaching at the primary school level are different from the skills that are required to teach in secondary schools and the kind of people you are managing as students in secondary schools are young adults, adolescence with peculiar problems and teachers must be particularly skilled not just to teach Mathematics, English but also help the children navigate through that period”, he added.

Fashola said words reaching him indicate that there are lot of teachers who acquired some forms of competences or the other but they did it in an environment where the Civil Service regulation did not give value for them.

“We are looking at all of these and my sense of it is that if you have acquired specialty, bring it up we will give you not only value for it, we would give you the commensurate remuneration for it”

“In this journey to professionalize teaching what we seek to achieve is not that all teachers will get the same reward, more professional teachers would get more professional rewards so it is going to be competitive”, he added.

He also hinted that the state would focus attention on ICT development in the annual competence evaluation of teachers and spend more money on the training to be undertaken by the teachers to acquire skills which would be useful to the state.

He stressed that the Adopt A School programme has been quite interesting as it has helped the government to put not only money but human resource back into the school, adding that the partners are concerned with the development of the mind and character of the next generation of people

The Governor while expressing appreciation to the partners said five years on, the attendance at the yearly Breakfast Meeting has not waned but has improved, expanded and the commitment getting deeper.

He also made allusion to the talk about the declining standard of education today when compared to the past and added that the truth is that at that period of prosperity and educational success, the schools were not run by the government but by the missions and private sector.

“What the government did then was to regulate the schools, set calendars, manage the exams, and manage postings. This was the undertaking by private sector that government later took up when it took over the schools”.

He added that thankfully government itself has realized that it should not be a one man show and has therefore returned some of the schools back to Christian and Muslim mission but that still the challenge endures.

The Government in Lagos now has over 600 junior and senior secondary schools and over a thousand primary schools and that is how big the responsibility is and so we have gone back to what worked yesterday to invite private sector to work with us to do what they have done before.

“This is the underlying rationale and philosophy behind adopt a school. We worked with those who have done it successfully before while we maintain more of our regulatory roles. What adopt a school has done now is to expand the possibility for corporate organization in a structured manner to intervene”, Fashola stated.

The Governor also informed that the state has just approved connection of 800 of the public schools into the public water supply just as work has just been completed on internet connectivity to Fibre Optic and broadband in the Yaba area and that in about two to three weeks, the whole of Yaba which is now connected to switchboard will have a full broadband connected community with about 25 out of 34 institutions in the community that are schools benefiting.

He said the partnership has also brought about improved performance in terms of students in public exams because a few years ago the average performance of students in WAEC with 5 credit passes in English and Mathematics was just about 10 percent but has climbed consistently to 41 percent.

The Governor reiterated that he has told the Permanent Secretaries and Tutors General that nothing less than 60 percent would be acceptable to him before he leaves office and that they have promised that it is very possible.

“For us it has been a momentous journey and the next frontier of the journey is how do we get to that 60 percent, the classrooms are better the school environment is better but what is happening in the classroom. Can we now focus more on the critical stakeholders? The children and the teachers and that is our new frontiers”, he added.

Earlier in an address of welcome, the State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye has expressed appreciation for the continued support of the initiative by the various individuals and corporate sponsors of education.

In her address, the Guest Speaker at the occasion, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, enjoined both corporate organisations and individuals to embrace the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy being propagated by the Lagos State Government as a means to bring back the glory and quality of education in the State and in the country.

Mrs. Alakija, who is also the Group Managing Director of Rose of Sharon, recalled that education in the 1950s up to the 1970s was glorious and qualitative to the extent that even foreigners sent their children to Nigerian schools. She lamented, however, that the standards started falling with the takeover of schools by the government.

The Group Managing Director, who a few weeks ago along with her husband, Mr. Modupe Alakija, donated a block of 18 classrooms to Alice Ogbara Memorial Junior Secondary School, Sabo Oniba, said Corporate Social Responsibility required that a company or individual must look beyond immediate and personal profit to see the long time goal of uplifting the community and the country in which they do business.

According to her, “It was the huge gap in the Education System in the State that prompted the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), to call on the Private Sector for support. We must adopt that strategy and its responsibilities if we must reverse the ugly trend in our education system”.

“It is an enormous responsibility which must not be left to Government alone. A great lot of attention should be paid to school infrastructure. Teachers should be given better and continuous training and every child must be given the opportunity to go to school”, she said.

She paid glowing tribute to the State Governor for initiating the Support – A- School programme noting that it was borne out of his genuine concern to rescue the falling standard of Education in the country.

Urging corporate organizations, Non-Governmental Organization and private individuals to key into the Support-A-School programme as way of supporting the good works of the State Government, Mrs. Alakija said, “We commend the Lagos State Government for the good work it is doing on Education in the State. We say well done Governor and keep up the pace”.

Aside the Papers presented by the Tutors-General of the six Education Districts of the State on the progress being made in various segments of the State’s Education system, another highlight of the occasion was the presentation of award to individuals and corporate organization who have made substantial contributions to the Support-A-School project.

They include Mr. and Mrs. Modupe and Folorunsho Alakija for their donation of 18 blocks of classrooms to Alice Ogbara Memorial Junior Secondary School, Sabo Oniba, Chief Kesington Adebukola Adebutu, Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, First Bank Nigeria Plc, Messrs Elegant Twins School of Cosmetology, DFID Espin, Alhaji Femi Okunnu and Pearson Education among others and was attended by dignitaries like former Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, former Health Commissioner, Dr Leke Pitan and members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Please Like Us On facebook