…Engages over 500,000 participants to date

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEB, Wahab Alawiye-King said the EkoExcel programme of the state government has indeed rescued a lot of children from engaging in various social vices in Lagos State since its inception.

Alawiye-King, who stated this while giving the scorecard as well as achievements of the programme, said over 500,000 pupils across 1009 schools are participating.

He recalled that since the commencement of the programme, it has taken many out-of-school children off the streets and onboarding them into classrooms, as well as protecting out-of-school children from daily violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and exclusion they were facing.

According to him, “It cannot be overemphasized that over Nine Millons out-of-school children need protection from the daily violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and exclusion they face.

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“Lagos State has over 2 million out-of-school children, this is a problem that the government wanted to tackle with the introduction of the programme.”

According to Alawiye-King, “LASUBEB EKOEXCEL, is a transformational intervention launched in 2019 by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to provide quality education to both the rich and the poor and upskill teachers leveraging technology.

“The enrollment drive exercise has yielded tremendous results since its commencement, with a good number of out-of-school children being captured and registered into EKOEXCEL schools as a result of the exercise, one, in particular, is the story of a boy called Segun Borno.

“Segun Borno wouldn’t have believed if he had been told before September 2021 that he would be enrolled in a primary school by that month-end and improved his literacy and numeracy skills three months later.

“The reason was that until the morning of that September, while Seguns’ age mates were in school, Segun was on the streets, helping to support his grandparents and siblings from the proceeds of candy he hawked.

“His grandparents were not pleased that he was engaged in petty trading, ultimately, their desire was for him to be educated but they couldn’t afford it. So, the young boy became a negative statistic, by being amongst the 258 million children and youths who are out of school globally according to UNESCO’s 2018 statistics.”

He added that “Sanwo-Olu, at the inception of his administration, assured Lagosians that the provision of qualitative education was a major priority and he was determined to change the face of primary education by re-training and empowering teachers with technology driving techniques to tutor students as well as the enrollment of out-of-school children into school with a robust pupil enrollment drive exercise.

“Besides, the first of the campaign’s four objectives are driving enrollment and reducing the number of out of school children in alignment with the government’s ‘Leave No Child Behind Policy’.

“The others are boosting academic excellence from a foundational level in Lagos public schools, engaging parents and communities on the need and importance of education and connecting citizens to the government’s economic growth agenda through the transformation of education.

“With empirical proof from the recently released EKOEXCEL 2020-2021 Endline Fluency and Numeracy Evaluation that affirmed that the intervention is making a significant impact with pupils, teachers and the states’ educational system, it is also noteworthy that it is succeeding in reducing out of school children.

The evaluation showed that EKOEXCEL pupils are making strong progress in oral reading fluency and foundational numeracy compared to their performance before the initiative’s commencement.”

Alawiye-King further noted that more pupils would be enrolled and no effort would be spared in giving them quality education to become globally competitive.

Also speaking, Permanent Board member, LASUBEB and oversight chair of the EKOEXCEL programme, Adebayo Adefuye, added that the decision to turn public schools into friendly places for learning has also boosted enrolment.

“We are making public schools a fun, friendly environment for learning and I’m certain we will see more improvements in our enrolment figures,” he said.

He also said the Lagos State has over two million out-of-school children, a problem that the state is determined to tackle with the introduction of the EKOEXCEL programme.

Adefuye added, “EKOEXCEL schools are monitored real-time by a digital and data-driven electronic dashboard that displays the data of all 1009 primary schools under the programme, 13,673 teachers, 10,085 classrooms and the almost 500,000 pupils across all the local government areas in Lagos State.

“This dashboard is accessible on the go to all the relevant primary education stakeholders across Lagos State. Having made education and technology a vital pillar of his development agenda, “he said.

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