By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Lagos State Government will be supporting secondary schools established by the military formation across the state to increase access to education for residents.
The move was disclosed on Wednesday by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu while receiving the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Olu Irefin, on a courtesy visit at the State House in Marina.
Sanwo-Olu said the State’s intervention for the military schools would specifically address deficits in staff strength, training and teaching materials, promising that the Ministry of Education would be meeting with the Army leadership to agree on modalities of the partnership.
The Governor said: “Our administration is prepared to provide quality education to all our pupils in public schools. We will also be extending the same gesture to children attending schools established by the Nigerian Army, regardless of whether their parents are personnel or not.
“The Commissioner for Education will be meeting the Army’s education department for collaborations on recruitment of teachers and provision of teaching equipment. Our education policies and programmes will not be exclusive only to pupils in public schools. Those attending schools established by the military and private investors within the State will also feel the impacts of our government because we believe all of them are our citizens.”
Sanwo-Olu hailed the Army for its cooperation with his Government in the coordination of joint security operations across the State. He also reassured the Army of his administration’s commitment to strengthen the engagement of the “OP Mesa” – a joint military’s operational outfit – for improved performance.
Maj-Gen Irefin, who took over the leadership of the 81 Division on July 22, said his visit to the Governor was to seek support for schools owned by the Army and also to show appreciation to the Lagos Government on its “constant” logistic assistance rendered to the military formation in the State.
The Army chief thanked Sanwo-Olu for consenting to the Division’s request of support for its schools, stressing that the State Government’s interventions would boost the education services rendered by the schools to members of their host communities.
He said: “Our secondary schools which are mostly in the barracks accommodate 70 per cent of pupils whose parents are not military personnel. Most of the teachers in these schools are on temporary engagement, which could limit the services provided by these schools. This is the reason why we urgently need assistance to enrol teachers in our schools for permanent engagement.”
On the task of OP Mesa, Irefin said the Army would maintain constant assessment of its operations in the State to ensure that the personnel deployed for the engagement acted in line with rules and best practices.