August 7, 2021

School Dropout: Why I ran away from my parents in Jigawa — Fatimah,23, narrates

School Dropout: Why I ran away from my parents in Jigawa — Fatimah,23, narrates

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

A pupil in the Lagos State Alternative School System, Fatimah Muhammed, a 23 year old girl from Jigawa, has narrated how she dropped out of school against her wish.

This came on a day, Lagos State Government embarked on public enlightenment campaigns to educate dropped out of school, especially young girls on the need to go back to school to complete their education for a better future.

The state government urged them especially, young girls who missed their education due to early pregnancy, trafficking, poverty or other factors to take advantage of the Alternative school system in the state to re- enroll for secondary education and learn a vocation that would make them become entrepreneurs.

Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo -Olu on Education, Barrister Tokunbo Wahab, gave the advice in Agboju, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of the state, during a day sensitization/ Public enlightenment programme, organized by his Office in Amuwo to sensitize the residents on the need to re- enroll their wards especially their girl child who may have dropped out of school system due to early pregnancy, poverty, early marriage or other factors back to school to continue their education.

Wahab explained that the administration of Mr Babajide Sanw Olu was determined to increase literacy level and grow young entrepreneurs who will be self sufficient and contribute to the growth of the economy of the state.

The Special Adviser, who was represented at street by street Public enlightenment campaigns by the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Alternative High School for Girls, Agboju, Mrs Funmilola Olajide stated that education remained a strong weapon to fight poverty and ignorance.

“The vision for a new Lagos with education and technology in the six Pillar developmental THhEMES’s agenda of the state Government could only be achieved when residents are well educated and enlightened,” he stressed.

While noting that there was no age barrier to acquiring knowledge, Wahab urged market women and house wives who narrowly missed education early in life to take the advantage of mass literacy policy of the state government to enroll back for secondary education at the Alternative High School for Girls at Agboju or register to learn any vocation of their choice at any of the nine vocational training centres available in the State.

He said the State Government would assist them with soft loans to start their businesses through the Lagos State Employment Trust Funds.(LSETF)

According to him, “the growing rate of the state’s population required a comprehensive educational approach that would prioritize the development of both formal and informal education to achieve success in the mass literacy policy of the state government for rapid socio- economic development.”

The Special Adviser further disclosed that plans were afoot to build five new alternative schools in the state in addition to the one in Agboju, Education District 5 so as to have the presence of such school in all the six Administrative Divisions of the state in line with the state government vision for mass literacy for sustainable development.

Wahab, explained that the Alternative High School for Girls, Agboju was established during the tenure of the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with the aim of providing education for female drop outs and the opportunity to acquire vocational skills that would make them to become self reliant, while they still continue with their learning .

The Special Adviser, while justifying the reason for government investment in both formal and informal education noted that mass literacy has become important in the state due to its status as the third largest megacity in the world and the economic hub of sub–Sahara Africa, characterized by large population.

‘’Both formal and informal education remain a strong weapon with which the State Government could use to enlighten and empower its teeming population for socio- economic and political development, at our Alternative High School for Girls, Agboju, our students have the opportunity to continue their education after the missing -gap, while they still have the opportunity to learn any vacation of their choice.

“It is free and we have crèche where those with children can keep their children with adequate care. Government provides all these free of charge to encourage those who may have missed early life education the opportunity to go back to school, learn a trade and become responsible citizens and not a dependant,’’

While noting that students of such school were not doing badly in their education, the Special Adviser explained that a student from Alternative High School for Girls, Agboju had the over- all best result in the examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WASC) in the whole of Agboju in the year 2020, ‘’ while we have some of them studying law and other science courses at the Lagos State University, UNILAG and other Institutions of learning’’ Wahab stated.

In an interview with some of the students of the school, Mrs Jemilah Sulyman, a 38 year old mother of eight children from Kano, said her parents forced her into early marriage which was believed by them was the tradition.

She said her husband encouraged her to enroll in the school when it was becoming difficult for her to communicate in English with her children at home as the children were raised in Lagos State and could not speak Hausa language.

She said the school has been helpful as she is gradually speaking English Language, while she is learning a vocation free of charge from the school’s vocational centre.

Pupils narrate experiences

Fatimah Muhammed, a 23 year old girl from Jigawa said she ran away from her parents in Jigawa when they wanted to force her in to early marriage against her wish to pursue western education and become relevant in the society.

“The Alternative School for Girls of the state government has helped in fufilling my dream, as the school is tuition free, this opportunity has helped me to continue my education in Lagos from Junior Secondary School, JSS class to Senior Secondary, SS3 that I’m now,” Muhammed said.

She commended Governor Sanwo- Olu for investing heavily in the education sector for a better future.