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Lagos showcases EKOEXCEL at International Conferences

Folasade Adefisayo

Folasade Adefisayo. Lagos Commissioner for Education

The Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo, has showcased the achievements and impacts of EKOEXCEL at two international conferences in the United States of America.

EKOEXCEL is a transformational initiative of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched in 2019 to improve public primary schools through technology deployment.

It has since recorded tangible gains among teachers and pupils.

The initiative, overseen by the Lagos State Universal Education Board (LASUBEB), has also helped reduce the number of out-of-school children in the state, among other empirically verified achievements by international scholars.

At The Brookings Institute Education Systems Transformation symposium themed: “Collaborative work, local contexts, and false dichotomies,” on February 17, Adefisayo highlighted how the Sanwo-Olu’s administration has been addressing issues bedevilling the state’s education sector.

The Commissioner titled her presentation: “Education Systems Transformation: The Lagos Story,” and recounted the challenges the government met on the ground and how it solved them.

She disclosed that Lagos has more children in private schools, with 18,000 private schools compared to 1,017 public primary schools.

She said the state also has 698 public junior and senior secondary schools and five public technical colleges.

Highlighting the government’s initial challenges, she said: “We had a high attrition rate because many of the students enrol but then see a form of hopelessness and go into informal training by learning to be a carpenter or hairdresser. We also have a significant out-of-school population due to the heavy migration to Lagos from other parts of the country by parents who don’t enroll their children.

“We had low numeracy and literacy skills among the students, with some spending six years in our system unable to read. It was quite scandalous, I felt. We also have a national challenge with security and the high cost of building schools because Lagos is waterlogged.”

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Adefisayo said that because Sanwo-Olu made education one of the critical focuses of his administration, there have been improvements with enrolment rising in primary schools, improved learning rate, and 40 per cent growth in literacy and literacy, 80 per cent success rate in terminal exams after SS3.

She attributed the successes in Lagos’ education sector to the introduction of EKOEXCEL, which has boosted the numeracy and literacy skills of pupils in primary schools, teacher training, also a critical part of EKOEXCEL, renovation, building and furnishing of classrooms, curriculum revision and leveraging the involvement of private partners.

Speaking earlier at the event, Senior Fellow of The Brookings Institute, Dr. Rebecca Winthrop, said it would assess its activities in the past 20 years and chart a new direction.

She said the Centre would double down on the UN SDG of holistic education for all.

Dr Winthrop added that the CUE/Brookings Institute would focus on transforming all its work portfolios while embracing further co-creation with civil societies in the Global South.

Adefisayo also showcased EKOEXCEL at the Comparative International Education Society’s (CIES) 2023 annual conference held from February 14 to 22 in the United States.

Since its launch, EKOEXCEL has continued to record tangible gains among teachers and pupils, leading to improved learning outcomes for pupils and more professional teachers.

Over 15,000 teachers from 1,012 public primary schools have been captured under the scheme.

It has also enhanced the teacher-pupil interaction experience through technology (e-learning) in Lagos State primary schools.

EKOEXCEL has also significantly increased pupils’ learning outcomes and drastically reduced the number of out-of-school children in the state by enrolling them in schools through the ‘Leave No Child Behind’ policy.

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