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    Thursday, January 20, 2022

    EkoExcel to Rescue Over 2 Million Out-Of-School Children

    Wahab Alawiye-King
    The Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB), Wahab Alawiye-King, has said the agency has since its inception in 2019, rescued a lot of children from engaging in various social vices in the state through its EkoExcel Programme, disclosing that the state had over two millions out-of-school children it wanted to caretaker for, with the introduction of the programme.

    According to Alawiye-King, the agency has taken many out-of-school children off the streets and onboarding them into classrooms through EkoExcel, saying it had also protected out-of-school children from daily violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and exclusion they faced.

    The executive chairman made this known while speaking on the achievements of the programme introduced some years back, saying that it cannot be overemphasised that over nine million out-of-school children needed protection from the daily violence, abuse, neglect, among others.

    “It cannot be overemphasised that over nine million out-of-school children need protection from the daily violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and exclusion they face. Lagos State has over 2 million out-of-school children, this is a problem that the government wanted to tackle with the introduction of the programme,” he said.

    Alawiye-King, however, said a vivid example was Segun’s story that changed for the best during a pupil registration drive of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board’s (LASUBEB) EKOEXCEL, a transformational intervention launched in 2019 by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to provide quality education to both the rich and the poor and upskill teachers leveraging technology.

    “The enrollment drive exercise has yielded tremendous results since its commencement, with a good number of out-of-school children being captured and registered into EKOEXCEL schools as a result of the exercise

    “One, in particular, is the story of a boy called Segun Borno. Segun Borno wouldn’t have believed if he had been told before September 2021 that he would be enrolled in a primary school by that month-end and improved his literacy and numeracy skills three months later.

    “The reason was that until the morning of that September, while Seguns’ age mates were in school, Segun was on the streets, helping to support his grandparents and siblings from the proceeds of candy he hawked. His grandparents were not pleased that he was engaged in petty trading, ultimately, their desire was for him to be educated but they couldn’t afford it.

    The executive chairman, who sadly noted that Lagos State had over two million out-of-school children, a problem that the state was determined to tackle with the introduction of the EKOEXCEL programme, recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu at the inception of his administration assured Lagosians that the provision of qualitative education was a major priority and was determined to change the face of primary education by re-training and empowering teachers with technology driving techniques to tutor students as well as the enrollment of out-of-school children into school with a robust pupil enrollment drive exercise.

    “Besides, the first of the campaign’s four objectives are driving enrollment and reducing the number of out of school children in alignment with the government’s ‘Leave No Child Behind Policy.’

    “The others are boosting academic excellence from a foundational level in Lagos public schools, engaging parents and communities on the need and importance of education and connecting citizens to the government’s economic growth agenda through the transformation of education.

    “With empirical proof from the recently released EKOEXCEL 2020-2021 Endline Fluency and Numeracy Evaluation that affirmed that the intervention is making a significant impact with pupils, teachers and the states’ educational system, it is also noteworthy that it is succeeding in reducing out of school children.

    The evaluation showed that EKOEXCEL pupils are making strong progress in oral reading fluency and foundational numeracy compared to their performance before the initiative’s commencement,” he stated.

    He expressed the belief that more pupils would be enrolled and no effort would be spared in giving them quality education to become globally competitive.

    Also speaking, Permanent Board Member of LASUBEB and oversight chair of the EKOEXCEL Programme, Honourable Adebayo Adefuye, added that the decision to turn public schools into friendly places for learning had also boosted enrolment.

    “We are making public schools a fun, friendly environment for learning and I’m certain we will see more improvements in our enrolment figures,” he said.

    Adefuye disclosed that EKOEXCEL schools were monitored in real-time by a digital and data-driven electronic dashboard that displays the data of all 1009 primary schools under the programme, 13,673 teachers, 10,085 classrooms and the almost 500,000 pupils across all the local government areas in Lagos State.

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