By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Parents have commended the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the excellent impact of EKOEXCEL, the innovative digital initiative launched by the state government in 2019 to transform public primary schools.
The parents expressed their satisfaction at a Parents-Teacher conference, held on recently, in all 1011 public primary schools in Lagos, where they critically assessed activities of the just concluded 2021/2022 academic session.
They commended the brilliant showing of three pupils from the state in the National Common Entrance Examination, NCEE, and other benefits of the intervention managed by the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEB, Lagos State registered the highest number of candidates with 19,518 out of the 71,518 pupils that sat for the exam for admission into federal unity colleges.
While the overall best student in the NCEE conducted by the National Examinations Council, NECO, scored 201 out of 210, three pupils of Lagos public primary schools were just five points behind.
Ayomide Daniel Ajayi of Hussey Military Primary School, Yaba, scored 198; Damilola Basit Araba of the same school had 197, and Deborah Ugbaha of St Georges Girls school, Ikoyi, scored 196.Other pupils also had good scores, showing the significant movement of EKOEXCEL pupils towards proficiency by more than 20 per cent of 53 pupils tracked and ascertained to have registered for the NCEE, 32 had excellent grades.
Commenting on excellent NCEE performances, parents, challenged those promoted to primary six to emulate the celebrated pupils or even do better next year.
“I’m happy with how EKOEXCEL has improved my son. I didn’t expect him to do so well in the exam. The extra hours and curricular activities paid dividends. I hope his junior sister will do better by 2024 when she writes the exam,” a parent, Mrs Enitan Ojo said.
Others, including Alhaji Abubakar, a bureau de change operator, Mohammed Ahmed of the Nigerian Ports Authority, businesswoman Oluwashinaayomi Ada and Nwunu Chioma, also acknowledged their children’s academic improvements.
Abubakar said, “My three children in primary four, two and kindergarten are doing well. I go to their school to check up with their teachers and am happy with their performance.”
Also attesting to the intervention’s excellence, Ahmed said, that “my daughter, Aminat, joined in primary one and is now in two.
“She has been doing okay since she joined the school and with the records I have gone through, I see a lot of improvements.”
Ada, on her part, said, “My child is in primary four, and since the EKOEXCEL program started, she can read, write, and pronounce words that were difficult for her. She can form words and sentences.”
Chioma affirmed, “since EKOEXCEL started, I have seen improvements in my three children.”
In separate chats, the three outstanding Lagos pupils in the NCEE also explained how EKOEXCEL’s innovative methodology boosted them.
Damilola Araba said, “EKOEXCEL made it easier for our teachers to teach us, and it has impacted us with modern technology. I’ll advise those getting promotion to primary 6 to study hard and learn to be focussed.”
Ayomide Ajayi enthused, “EKOEXCEL has motivated me to come to school and enabled our teachers to teach us in a new way.”
Deborah Ugbaha noted, “EKOEXCEL makes it easier for our teachers to explain difficult topics to us and improves our understanding. I will miss the teaching method.”
Apart from testimonials from parents and pupils, a study, the ‘EKOEXCEL Nigeria 2021-2022 TS Satisfaction Survey Report’, also affirmed that quality education remains a significant driver of the initiative.
The EKOEXCEL Insight Team analysed key findings on parents’ perceptions of the programme and found that though the Net Promoter Scores (NPS) fell to 29 from 32 in the previous term, parents still trust the intervention’s quality to recommend it to others.
491 of 500 parents said they would keep their child at EKOEXCEL school next term. Other parents were also impressed by factors including Good pupil behaviour, academic skills/performance (such as strong English, math abilities), suitable teaching method/pedagogy–and free textbooks/learning materials.
The survey also found that most parents (470 of 500) are either satisfied or delighted with the EKOEXCEL programme. 479 of 500 attested to seeing improvement in their child’s quality of education due to the programme.
Some of the areas parents have seen some improvements are; General – 53.4%, Does homework independently – 35%, Reading/literacy – 33%, Writing – 30.6%, English language skills – 26.4%, Mathematics – 26.4%, Spelling – 23.2% etc.Nobel laureate, Professor Michael Kremer, recently appraised the methodology underpinning the EKOEXCEL program, administered by the program’s technical partners, NewGlobe.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist’s detailed observations on how pupils tutored with the methodology used in EKOEXCEL, gain almost an additional year of learning (0.89) under the NewGlobe integrated methodology, learning in two years what their peers in other traditional schools learn in nearly three.
For early childhood development (ECD), the gains were even bigger. ECD pupils using the same methodology as EKOEXCEL gained almost an additional year and half of learning (1.48), learning in two years what students in other schools learn in three and a half years.
The findings in the study put the learning gains in the top 1% of learning gains ever rigorously studied at scale in low and middle-income countries.