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Sanwo-olu Education Policy: Lagos on the path to greatness, says Adefisayo

Folashade Omobola Adefisayo, Lagos state commissioner for education, in this interview with MARK MAYAH, applauds Babajide Sanwo-olu led- administration for the revolutionising the state’s education policy throuhg the provision of infrastructural, instructional, ICT Technology and welfare package adjusted to the best in the entire federation. Excerpt 

Before your appointment as the Lagos state commissioner for education, what have you being doing?

I came from the private sector. I was the principal consultant/chief executive officer of Leading Learning Limited. It is an educational consultancy incorporated in the year 2014. I was consulting for public and private schools, state governments, NGO’S and development partners. My areas of professional focus include teacher training, leadership training, school set-up and school transformation. I am an education activist with passion for student learning, school transformation and teacher training. I had decades of working experience spanning, banking operations, organisational restructuring, human resources management, international trade and education.

One year after, how has the journey so far?

It’s a worthwhile judgement in the past one year. His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo- Olu had invested so much in the sector that has transformed the state education policy, second to non in the country. The governor in his magnanimous way and wisdom, commenced the turn- around in the sector by increasing the 2020 budgetary allocation to 65 percent and supporting the ministry’s programmes, like Eko- Excel initiative- Excellence in Child Education and learning), tagged “Leave No Child Behind”.he demonstrated his commitment to this important sector, with the construction and upgrading of facilities in the entire education sector.

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We had in the last 12 months delivered over 60,000 tables and chairs to our public schools and more under going construction for ownward delivery. The exercise continue till the very last school get delivery of theirs. It is of note that our governor in the same period, approved for employment of 2,000 school personnel for primary school, while 1,000 were recruited for the secondary arm to join the workforce. They had since resumed after induction training. We also improved the efficacy of the Education Quality Assurance unit by instituting a Grading Instruments for evaluating standard of schools as well as increased

Private school registration above 100 % year-on- year. At improving capacity and welfare of personnel, a sum of N7.8 Million disbursed to school teachers as car refurbishment loans; just as N3million was also dished to teachers as Housing loans.

To better encourage teachers in public schools, the governor promised that designs for teacher’s quarters within the school premises would soon commence. Of note, we engaged students and pupils by organising electronic learning and teaching platforms through radio, television, and the internet media, as a result of school closure caused by covid-19 pandemic. We received support from First Bank, Edfin Microfinance bank and MTN Nigeria towards the e-learning programme.

Reviewing and optimising the curriculum, organising, instituting a better school governance and administration as well as improving the capacity and welfare of students and school personnel, investment in technology and state of arts training and induction of teachers through the Eko-excel are some of the numerous ministry’s achievements.

Your take on areas stakeholders in the private sector could assist in developing education policy in the state?

It would be recalled that we organized the 2020 Public – Private Partnership (Ppp)-dialogue. It was aimed at acruing collaboration towards improved quality of education in Lagos state.

Stakeholders in the private sector can collaborate with government; adopting schools as well ss teacher training centre to fund, equip and upgrade; providing accommodation; providing equipment and technology tools. Funding a Lagos state Teachers’ Welfare Fund; sponsoring work experience schemes for students and teachers, sponsoring local and international exchange programmes; investing in special needs eduacation providing consultancy services for monitoring and evaluation, capacity development, data gathering and analysis. All these are at ensuring that emerging generations of young people are exposed to the same high quality educational opportunities, with a comprehensive and well-rounded education that involves the impartation of skills such as empathy, leadership, selfconfidence as well as inculcating values and ethics in young adults.

What are your plans towards reopening of schools as to enable the terminal students write their external examinations?

Both federal, states and stakeholders in the sector met severally, and meetings still on- going, at fixing required necessary protocols, that would determine govetnment decision. Let’s wait as we are approaching the bridge. As you’re here wanting to know, meetings are going on at various levels at seeing the best possible way to get out of the crisis. But by His grace and mercy, we shall overcome the pandemic.

How prepare are the schools in regards to basic requirements for reopening?

We are at the top of it. Our Education Quality Assurance (EQA), which is an agency under my ministry is following up to see that our schools does not lack those basic requirement for safety of our students, teachers and other support personnel as well as stakeholders in the sector and the society at large.

You have a lot of complex activities in your hands, do you have time at all to rest?

There is a balance I would say. I am a professional. Aside, I have experienced men and women manning various agencies and departments in the ministry and together we are moving the sector to a greater height.

How much of support do you have from the governor to do all you want to achieve in the education sector?

I won’t be here without the support of my governor, Babajide Sanwo- Olu. He believes and support in what we are doing because he is passionate about the development of Lagos and the general wellbeing of the citizens and residents in the state. As such, he is giving us all the backings -: financially and morally to bring results.

You appear amiable, does it have to do with your growing up?

I don’t know where I got it from. The way we were brought up was to be kind. That must be next to nature. It mustn’t have to be money. Just be kind and be accessible. You try the best you can and do it deligently at achieving positive results that are of beneficial to mankind.

Who influences you more, your mother or father?

Both of them. My mother is very calm, you hardly know she exists. She’s an epitome of simplicity. My father is an incurable optimist. Everything is doable. He has his energy that I think I took from.

Would you one day go into politics, after serving your tenure as commissioner?

No, no. I will not seek for elective position.i go back home after here. While am here, I do the necessary needful to better the lots for why we are here.

What lessons have you learnt about life?

Don’t come to the table with expectations, so you are not disappointed. Then, be yourself. That’s a positive energy that we must continually look for and I think that is one that I have worked on and I think it really worked for me. In every situation, I always look for the softer side. The first thing I do is, what is the worst case scenario. Once I can figure the worst case scenario, I sit down and say OK. I think, one day at a time, baby’s steps. If you keep at something you will eventually get there. It might not be the way that everybody would, but some how, you’re going to get there. It worked for me, and it’s still working. I’ am never agitated. I don’t have expectations.

‘ I won’t be here without the support of my governor, Babajide SanwoOlu. He believes and support in what we are doing because he is passionate about the development of Lagos and the general wellbeing of the citizens and ‘ residents in the state

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