EKOEXCEL shines at 2021 Education Symposium

Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Governor Sanwo-Olu

The transformative education program of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, continues to garner international reviews, with the latest coming at a global summit.

Education had always been a priority to the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu. It was part of his comprehensive development plan, the THEMES agenda long before he assumed office.

Education and technology is the third pillar of the development plan, with the others being Traffic Management & Transportation; Health & Environment; Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy; Entertainment & Tourism and Security & Governance.

He had promised on the campaign trail that, “We will invest in the education of our children and young adults. By increasing the budgetary allocation to education, this Government will empower teachers in every local Government and strengthen their capacity to deliver quality education to our children.

“New educational infrastructure will cultivate a learning environment that prepares our children for a new world that demands creativity, intuition and critical thinking. We will ensure technology is integrated into our school curriculum and empower our youths with the much-needed skills for the jobs of tomorrow.”

True to his words, the Governor commenced his flagship basic education transformation program, EKOEXCEL (Excellence in Child Education and Learning), months after his inauguration.

Managed by the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), EKOEXCEL provides quality education to the rich and the poor. It also upskills teachers by leveraging cutting-edge technology. Within two years, it has accelerated pupils’ learning, led to better classroom culture and more robust curriculum management.

EKOEXCEL has dramatically accelerated student literacy and numeracy performance, with significant differences between student performance in EKOEXCEL schools and their traditional school peers.

EKOEXCEL students advanced in numeracy twice as fast as students in traditional schools. At the same time, they progressed three times as quickly as their peers in comparable schools.

A most beneficial intervention, EXOEXCEL shone brightly at the 2021 mEducation Alliance Symposium organised by The Mobiles for Education (mEducation) Alliance, a global not for profit focused on using sustainable technology to enhance quality education.

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Held from September 27 to 30, the event was themed ‘EdTech for Accelerating Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in Low-Resource Contexts’ with 38 countries participating in plenary sessions and virtual exhibitions, among others.

Representing Lagos at the Ministry of Education (MoE) interactive session moderated by UNICEF’s Juan Giraldo was Permanent Board Member of LASUBEB and oversight chair of the EKOEXCEL programme, Hon. Adebayo Adefuye. The other panelists were Head, Educational Media Directorate, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, John Kimotho, and General Coordinator, Digital School Initiative at MBRGI, United Arab Emirates, Dr Waleed Al Ali (UAE).

Highlighting EKOEXCEL’s strides, Adefuye disclosed that 300 EKOEXCEL schools were the baseline, and the results in the first eight weeks were impressive. “In terms of literacy, learning was three times faster and in numeracy two times faster than schools that were not in EKOEXCEL,” he said.

Sharing how technology was deployed during the COVID-19 lockdown to ensure pupils didn’t lose much, Adefuye explained that the innovative [email protected] initiative was birthed. “The @home programme consisted of self-study activity packets, learning guides, interactive audio sessions, zoom classes, WhatsApp quizzes and distribution of 450,000 mp3s with pre-recorded lessons,” he said.

The Permanent Representative also touched on teachers’ training, partnerships with the private sector and EKOEXCEL’s goals. “We train the teachers and give them constant support and training. We have coaches and mentors of our learning development and supervisors who visit them in the classrooms, observe and continue to mentor them until they attain that world-class level,” he said.

Adefuye added that EXOEXCEL wasn’t going all alone as it has a qualified and renowned private technical partner, New Globe. He said the company “has brought scientifically based pedagogy, which is digitally distributed and monitored in real-time. We also have data-driven teacher development. We also monitor our schools in real-time because of the private sector partnership.”

Further highlighting New Globe’s contributions, Adefuye said, “At the push of a button, we know what’s happening in our schools. We make data-driven policy choices, including in investigations by our quality assurance. They have data-driven information to enhance investigations. Every single school within Lagos state is geolocated. So, we designed a situation room with interactive monitors with our learning and development and quality assurance officers and one or two members of the school support there. Their responsibilities are to monitor what is going on in our schools via the dashboard and take calls from dedicated lines to address issues made.”

Adefuye, who described Governor Sanwo-Olu as a visionary who wants equal opportunities for less privileged children with EKOEXCEL, said the program is being monitored efficiently. “We have a crisis response unit that is at the command of the LASUBEB Chairman, Honourable Wahab Alawiye King. They respond to issues promptly, even in the furthest parts of the state. They are there within an hour to ensure that there are no problems or issues especially with learning, the children or abuse.”

With the strides EKOEXCEL continues to make in its stated objective, Lagos State’s primary education could well emerge the best in Nigeria in a couple of years.

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