By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Ahead of school reopening in Lagos, the State Government has disclosed that recruitment of atleast 2,000 teachers would be perfected to boost the standard of public primary school education in the state.
Also, officials from Lagos have joined representatives from other states to deliberate with the Federal Government to design possible guidelines that would be adopted when need arise for schools to reopen in the country.
These developments were confirmed by Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo while discussing Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration plans for education on an online show, Covinspiration show, moderated by a United Nations (UN) Youth Ambassador, Dayo Isreal, to keep the public abreast of the administration activities in the last one years.
Adefisayo, who expressed her dissatisfaction with the outbreak of coronavirus in the state, hinted that the pandemic has held the ministry of education back in the completion of its plans for the sector.
The Commissioner stated that the administration after assumption of office decided to address the challenges in education aggressively in 2020 but the pandemic spread to Lagos halted plans for education.
She, however, noted that after President Muhammadu Buhari lifted the lockdown earlier imposed on Lagos and other states to assist Nigeria gain control over coronavirus, the ministry officials immediately rolled up their sleeves to fast track completion of 2020 plans which includes perfecting the recruitment of teachers.
“The most important aspect of learning is the quality of teachers and we did not have enough teachers to actualize the set plan for learning in our public schools. And one of the earliest things we requested for and was granted by the governor was the recruitment of teachers.
“We have concluded the recruitment of 1,000 secondary school teachers. And we are currently working on the recruitment of 2,000 teachers for public primary schools. And we are looking at employing teachers every quarter because the rate of retirement of teachers. The administration has granted the ministry permission to replace retired teachers.
“Aside from recruitment, we have spent a lot on the training of current teachers to improve their teaching skills in classrooms. And this COVID-19 period was the time when we were able to do a lot of things in the education sector of Lagos state”, she added.
While noting that some of the programmes adopted after the schools were shut will not be abandoned, the commissioner hinted that furniture for students and teachers was currently been delivered to schools in fulfillment of the promises made on welfare.
According to her, understanding that the society needs are dynamic, the government also embarked on training of experts that would fine-tune the curriculum towards preparing the students in compliance with the current needs and we have met with different educational associations on the curriculum to have their input as well.
On reopening of school, Adefisayo emphasized that governor Sanwo-Olu cannot unilaterally announce the reopening of schools since the pandemic did not affect Lagos alone.
The commissioner hinted that like other sectors already approved by the Federal Government to reopen, the state government is meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Education to design guidelines that must be adopted before the schools will be reopened.
“We are watching the behaviour of the pandemic to see what happens next and we are working with the Federal government on the reopening of the schools in the country. This is not a decision that any state can unilaterally take on its own. If we are certain that the children are safe, we will reopen the schools for learning to resume.
“We are already working with the Federal Ministry of education and they are working with National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) on the guidelines that could be adopted when the need arises for the schools to reopen. After the protocol is completed and health officials assured us that the coast is clear, we will give the schools some days to adjust their premises in accordance with the guidelines on commencement of academic activities”.
The commissioner further said that the protocol would be enforced by the Office of Education Quality assurance to ensure compliance in the state.