….says over N4bn spent in line with free education policy
By Moses Adeniyi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said his administration never defected for once in four years in the payment of the fees for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for students of Senior Secondary School 3 (SS3) of the State’s public schools.
Sanwo-Olu who made the statement on Saturday at the 2023 Children’s Day Celebration themed “More Money for Primary Education”, said his administration spent over N4.2billion in the space of four years for the payment in line with the free education policy of the government.
The 2023 Children’s Day Celebration themed “More Money for Primary Education” formed day six as part of the 11-day activities lined-up to herald the Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu second term inauguration to be officially kicked off on Monday 29th May, 2023.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat said his administration prioritise education having taken cognisance of the fact that students are the “greatest treasure”, and future of the State.
“I want to tell you the truth that is shared by all of us here that without you, the children, we would have little joy and we would have no love at all. That is why it our believe that you are the most precious creation in the world. We are bound to protect, guide and love all our children with our might because you are our greatest treasure,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu noted that though the number of out of school children was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and other man-made problems such as civil disturbance, daily influx of families from other part of the Country and the likes, the State never rested from interventions to ensure the sector is funded for the good of children.
He mentioned some of the intervention by his administration since 2019 in ensuring a better future for children by improving teaching and learning, to include over 1,449 projects commissioned in over 1,036 schools across the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the State.
Also mentioned were the Eko Excel programme to revolutionalise primary education in the State with over 15,000 primary school teachers trained and provided with teaching aid devices; while over 450,000 pupils were empowered with learning devices; the project zero initiative which saw restoring over 11,957 pupils back to school, among others.
“We did not defect in the payment of WAEC fees in all our public school SS3 students in the last four years. Over N4.2bn was spent in the last four years to keep our promise of free payment of the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination fees to allow our students move up the ladder and to ensure no student is left behind in secondary school education,” he said.
According to him, the investment has given testament to the success rate of public school student’s performance in WASSCE which he said has recorded an improvement from 38.79 percent in five credits performance, including Mathematics and English in 2020 to 80 and 78 percent in 2022 and 2023.
He said the same has also reflected in the scores of students of public schools in the Joint Matriculation Admission Board (JAMB) Examination, saying “for the first time in recent years, we’ve never reported a good number of public secondary school students scored over 350 points.”
He recognised the likes of Dejo Osenjo Osegberi, who scored 352, Rafael Mulero who scored 351 in the recently conducted JAMB examination.
“Our administration would therefore continue to empower our children and youth with relevant skills for a self reliant future and providing a suitable path for them based on skills and competences,” he promised.
He assured stronger collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders to develop the sector to ensure no child is left behind.
He promised the students “a greater times lie ahead as we commence our second term after inauguration in two days time,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu also at the event flagged-off the registration process into nursery and primary schools in the State.
Remarking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Lagos State, Mr. Abayomi Abolaji, said the 2023 Children’s Day Celebration was important forming part of the inauguration activities lined-up to herald the second term in office of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as Governor and Deputy respectively.
According to him, the theme forms a significant discourse in the development of education, speaking to the relevance that more attention is needed “for our children to be properly taken care of in their formative years.”
He appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy for what he described as “their genuine interest in the total welfare, education and development of children in the State.”