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We are expanding programmes we inherited, says education aide

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By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

 

Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Education, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab has said the government is improving on programmes started by previous administrations.

Contrary to belief that good initiatives of Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, who served in the same position under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, such as the CodeLagos and the Ready Set Work, had become moribund, Wahab said they were being improved to deliver greater impact.

In an interview, the Special Adviser said the programmes had been repackaged and renamed and being implemented.

He said the CodeLagos, now called Eko Digital, would teach more to students and other young people than coding.

“Government is a continuum.  Eko Lagos is what we now call Eko digital. I won’t  kill it. We won’t  throw away the baby with the bath water. When we came on board, I saw the hand over note; I believed in it. What we have to do is just revamp it in a way that it will be deeper in content. We launched it last month and we handed it over to the Tutor-General/Permanent Secretaries (TG/PSs). I am glad to see the feedback is unprecedented,” he said.

Regarding the Ready Set Work – the industry-readiness programme for final year students of tertiary institutions in Lagos State – Wahab said the programme, now called Eko Job Initiative, had also been expanded to benefit more students.

He said: “We also have the Eko job initiative. I also inherited it from my predecessor. What we did was to revamp it in a way that it accommodates more people. So it is not just those students in final year in universities; we are coming to the penultimate year. We start teaching them – the soft skills they need outside the universities’ four walls. It used to be called ready set work.  We revamped it and called it Eko job initiative.”

Wahab also spoke of government’s plans to expand the Alternative High School for Girls project initiated by Senator Oluremi Tinubu when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was Governor of Lagos.  The school was established to give teenage mothers a second chance to continue their education after having babies early.

“New Era Foundation (NEF) at that time proposed the idea for the establishment of the Alternative High School for Girls in Agboju to the Ministry of Education, under the Office of the Special Adviser on Education, which was subsequently adopted by the State Government after careful, painstaking appraisal of its objectives and relevance within the framework of the socio-economic peculiarities of the State,” the Special Adviser explained.

Wahab said the school recorded the best result in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Agboju area of Lagos.  He said that Government may replicate the school, which recently got a governing board, in other areas of Lagos.

On some other programmes initiated by the Office of the Special Adviser on Education (OSAE), Wahab said there had been interventions in the library of over 64 secondary schools – which had been refurbished and fitted with ICT tools.

“We have over 1,000 public schools. In the past one year and a half/ two years now, we directly go to schools to say let us refurbish, remodel their libraries; give them the books, make it conducive and then bring ICT facilities into the library of each school.

“I resumed here in August. So far we have done 64 (schools). We are going to do 66 this year. The budget has been approved by the governor. Contractors are going to site next week, I am certain about that. By next year hopefully, we will do more,” he said.

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