By Dipo Awojobi – The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has been advised to bridge the gap between schools in rural and urban areas.
According to the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Education, Hon. Lanre Ogunyemi basic education is fundamental to the development of the state and the country at large.
Ogunyemi added during a visit to SUBEB office in Maryland by the committee on Friday that the essence of the board is for children to have access to quality education regardless of where they are.
“I am from a constituency, where most schools are in the riverine areas are not well equipped. We should ensure that children in riverine and rural areas should also enjoy quality education like their counterparts in the urban areas. Staffing is also important, teachers in riverine areas must be encouraged to work there and the schools must not have dilapidated structures.
“We need to do more on personnel and infrastructure and we must ensure that our schools are what they should be. Our worst schools in Lagos State should compare with the best in other states of the federation,” he said.
The lawmaker urged the board to ensure minimum standard in the schools in the state, while observing that the task of the board was onerous and begged them to always bring the committee into the picture.
He assured that the committee was ready to provide the necessary legislative framework for the board to function effectively.
“We are here in line with our constitutional role of performing oversight functions. We are empowered to appropriate funds for MDAs and we ensure the judicious usage of the funds.
“We believe that education is very important and central to development. It is the foundation for every sphere of development. Our future depends on our education, we must get it right rather than paying lip service to its development.
On security, Ogunyemi explained that adequate security is being put in place in all the schools in the state, and advised owners of private schools to intensify security in the schools premises.
“We were in the state Model College in Merian recently and we saw the kind of security they have, and they are also working with the community to secure the school. The state government is doing its best on security in our schools,” he said.
Responding, the Chairman of SUBEB, Dr. Ganiyu Oluremi Sopeyin said that the board had some challenges, but that they have development plans for education in the state.
He said that the board had to key into the vision of the state Governor on education, and that training is being organised for teaching and non-teaching staffs in the state schools.
“As part of moving education forward, the board and the management visit two schools on a day from Mondays to Fridays and this is yielding results. We believe that when we continue with this, a lot would be done. Parts of the challenges is the dilapidated structures in the schools and the Governor is addressing this. He told us to give him the cost of repairing the schools.
“Recently, two schools were repaired by the state government in Badagry. The challenge we have here in our office is basically accomodation problem, but we will not allow this to weaken us. We met some corporate organisations and majority of them are willing to assist in repairing the environment and the roads,” he said.
Dr. Sopeyin revealed that Ecobank is sponsoring the road project, while another bank is willing to finance the clinic in the board premises.
He promised that corporate organisations are also supporting the board to repair the schools and that many Lagos State schools would soon be better than some private schools.
He added that they would ensure best practices in the public schools in the state, and thanked the committe for the visit.
On his expectation from the visit of the committee, Sopeyin said that the board would take to the pieces of advice given by the committee and that the state primary schools would be made better very soon.
“Our major issue is the attitude of our teachers. They have good qualification and they are being trained regularly, but all these would be addressed all the same.