Education: Concerned Parents and Educators Network Assures Commissioner of Support

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…Lists Areas For Improvement, Others.

A virtual group in Nigeria, Concerned Parents and Educators Network, CPE, has assured the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo and Lagos State Government of their support in restoring the glory of the state in education.

The group stated this during a visit to the commissioner on Wednesday to present issues affecting education, children, and schools in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the group, the group admin, Mrs. Toyin Idowu said the visit is a fact-finding one to enquire from the commissioner how CPE can support the office of the commissioner for education in particular and Lagos State Government as a whole to restore the glory of the state in education and ensure that the commissioner has a successful and glorious tenure.

“We are happy to express our joy and congratulate you on your appointment as the commissioner for education. We are happy that education has been entrusted to a passionate and deeply concerned educationist and we trust that in your time, there would be a positive change in the landscape of education in Lagos State.”

Pointing out that there are areas the group would like the commissioner to look into which they believe shall be of immense benefit in the short, medium and long term to all stakeholders in education, Idowu said these include implementation of a functional curriculum for public schools because according to her once this is available, private schools would voluntarily adopt it.

“All children in public schools must have access to some form of technology in the lessons or subjects and animation, graphics, robotics and the like should be included in the curriculum.”

Secondly, the group wants the enforcement of class six for all pupils in primary school and SS3 for secondary school students to ensure they take advantage of the full curriculum and are well-grounded before they move to the next level in their academic career especially at the primary level, gradually classes four and five are becoming extinct.

Also, in addition to this, CPE wants the age consideration in placing children in classes to be structured such that a child finishes primary six at eleven and S S3 at age 17.

The group also wants the restoration of public schools to their former glory through the assistance of the various alumni associations and CSR initiatives from corporate bodies. “This would be the most expedient way to get facilities upgraded or installed in these schools.

“A quick way this can be achieved is by setting up a “Help Our Schools” desk in the office of the commissioner for education and interested parties would send in the proposals of what they intend to do and for which school and all this would be at no cost to the state government.”

On the drug pandemic in public schools, the group stated that the easy access the students have to all manner of drugs calls for concern at the level of government. “We propose that the government ban the sale of all intoxicating substances within a certain proximity of schools, and heavy sanctions be imposed upon whoever is found wanting in this regard.”

CPE also wants regular drug-abuse seminars to be held in schools by the Lagos State Ministry of Health that it is at no cost to government and schools should be encouraged to set-up drug-free clubs who would keep up the sensitization among their peers.

They also want attention to be given to all the schools and facilities set –up for special needs children, continuous training of the staff, provision of up to date equipment and infrastructure and medical assistance where necessary.

Mrs. Idowu, however, said the highlighted point cannot be achieved if the teachers are not properly trained and equipped. “Therefore public school teachers must be trained to teach with technology and not to teach technology.

To achieve this, she said the necessary tools must be made available to them, teachers must be encouraged to own good quality laptops and tablets, and “Lagos State can help facilitate this through a partnership with ICT companies for payments in installments and provision of necessary support in the schools.

“This would go a long way to make the state a transformation model for the whole state and indeed the country as a whole. It would also raise the level of teachers and create an environment for growth,” she stated.

Responding, the commissioner, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo thanked the group for their efforts in improving education in the state and in the country as a whole.

On the issues raised, she said the ministry will look into it and work out modalities to tackles the problems facing education in the state.

On the enforcement of class six for all pupils in primary school,  the commissioner said the ministry is starting a serious campaign on the issue in January because according to her parents need to be enlightened because they don’t understand what they are doing to the children by pushing them to a higher class at a young age.

“For facilities for special needs, we all know that Lagos has an inclusive education system and this is deliberate in order to bring in the special children and very soon we are employing more teachers who can handle special needs children so that they can teach them.

“On training the teachers I must tell you that is important and I have no choice if we really want good training for our children that is why we are starting a training program on Monday for 4000 primary school teachers and that is the reason they are vacating a week early this term,” she explained.

Thanking the commissioner for giving CPE the opportunity to meet with her, the founder of the group, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde said the major reason why they came was for the commissioner to see CPE as a key partner in improving the education sector. “We want  you to know we are a key member of the sector and we are ready to support you in whatever capacity you think we can be of help.”

BV.

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