Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday flagged off ‘Project Zero,’ aimed at tracking and returning over 21,000 pupils who abandoned primary schools post COVID-19.
Sanwo-Olu, during the flag off in Lagos, noted that those being tracked would also include pupils whose parents had relocated in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Project Zero is an initiative deployed to tackle the menace of out-of-school children by supporting and re-enrolling children who are out of school or on the verge of dropping out of school.
The initiative, in partnership with Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB), is deployed to trace, mobilize and support children who have dropped out of school due to socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said the initiative would bring pupils on the brink of dropping out back to school.
“Our activities shall commence with the tracking and identification of children who have dropped out or with a high risk of dropping out of school.
“They will be supported with necessary relief items including school uniforms, school sandals, two pairs of socks and writing materials,” he said
Sanwo-Olu said that Project Zero initiative would drive excellence in learning for about 500,000 pupils across 1,016 public primary schools with more highly skilled and technologically savvy teachers.
He said that the state government had also recruited additional 2,000 teachers to bridge the gap of the teacher pupil ratio.
He added that infrastructural upgrade and renovation were underway across all state schools amongst other ongoing educational reforms.
The governor commended private institutions for delivering globally competitive educational service through deployment of the needed technology and enhancement of teacher quality and continuous capacity building.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, said that the present administration’s objective was that every child in Lagos should be able to read from primary one.
Adefisayo stressed that no child should be denied education, noting that a hoodlum is the product of a failed society/system.
She, therefore, called on private organisations to partner with government in ensuring that no child is out of school.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Mr Yinka Ogundimi, urged parents and teachers to be up and doing in educating their wards.
He assured that government would continue to make policies and implement them so as to deliver quality education.
“The bedrock of education is primary education, so be assured that we will do more to set good example and deliver on set objectives,” he said.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the Chairman, LASUBEB, Mr Wahab Alawiye-King, said that quality education was every child’s right, backed by national and international laws.
“However, despite the government’s efforts, several socio-economic factors still stand between our efforts and desired result,” he said.
The chairman, therefore, commended government and private institutions for their efforts at ensuring that no child of school age is out of school.