By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
The Lagos State Ministry of Educational has commenced the implementation of a policy aimed at strengthening its inspectorate department as well as reinvigorating technical and vocational education in the state.
As a way of building the capacity of school inspectors, the ministry has secured the partnership of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN).
This move has ensured a regular training programme for inspectors, with no fewer than 300 of them already trained between January and May this year.
Recently, ESSPIN organised, on behalf of the state, Teachersâ€™ Development Needs Assessment for teachers in primary and junior secondary schools.
These facts were disclosed by the state Deputy Governor, Mrs Sarah Adebisi Sosan, who also doubles as the Commissioner of Education. According to her, the training of the inspectors has impacted positively on the education sector as there is a marked improvement in teaching and learning, proper keeping of records and management of schools, adding that since inspection is currently carried out regularly in the state, instructional materials are now being used more effectively.
To complement inspection, schoolsâ€™ gates are manned by the members of the Neighbourhood Watch who are employees of the state government, explaining that these officers are meant to prevent students from going out during the school hours. This strategy, according to Sosan, has reduced the number of students found roaming the streets even if some still manage to escape out of school premises before closing time. She stressed the need for all stakeholders to join hands with government to totally eradicating the roaming of streets by students in the state.
The Education Commissioner said the Neighbourhood Watch staff are not deplored to supervise NECO exams in the state. She decried the deplorement of Civil Defence Corps members by the management of the National Examinations Council (NECO) to supervise its examinations, stressing that NECO should recruit seasoned teachers to supervise during examinations.
The state government, says Sosan, pays the WAEC and NECO examination fees of students in public secondary schools and that measures are in place to prevent cheating during the examinations in schools, including prevention of overpopulating examination centres.
Technical education, according to Sosan, is also a top priority of the state government as it is expected to play a major role in the realisation of its mega city project as well as the need to make school leavers self-reliant and employers of labour in terms of skills acquisition.
She says: â€œWe have renovated and equipped the five technical colleges as part of strategies to reposition technical education. Before now, the state technical colleges could boast of only a few accredited courses, but now, of the 49 courses presented to the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), 45 were approved.â€
Sosan continued: â€œSimilarly, all teachers in the five technical colleges in the state were trained in 2009 on delivery of NBTE curriculum. The principals of the colleges and their vice-principals were also trained abroad for professional development.â€
She further disclosed that the state government has entered into agreement with the British Council and some institutions in Europe for regular training and retraining of teachers of technical colleges.
A team of trainers from London came to the state early this year to train 50 heads of departments and sections under the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), says Sosan, adding that the beneficiaries of such training would serve as master trainers to other teachers in the technical education sub-sector.
To be able to run all TVET activities and the technical colleges effectively, the state government passed into law last year the bill establishing the Lagos Technical and Vocational Education Board (TVEB). And recently, an eight-member of TVEB was inaugurated to oversee the running of the technical colleges.
The state government has taken a step to ensure an improved enrolment of students in the technical colleges by commencing an advocacy programme to sensitise the populace on the benefits of technical and vocational education in the production of skilled manpower for national development.