Human Development Initiatives (HDI) has taken another huge step in ensuring that the number of out-of-school children in Lagos State reduces drastically.
Despite the state’s high literacy rate (96.5 percent, the second-highest among states of the federation according to the National Bureau of Statistics), Lagos still has a high number of children of school-going age who are not in school.
Many of these are either on the streets soliciting for alms, working as bus conductors, load carriers, shoe shiners, hawkers or in shops learning one vocational trade or the other while their peers are in school learning.
However, On Friday, 9th of October 2020, HDI with the support of the MacArthur Foundation converged hundreds of parents in Mushin Local Government Area for a sensitization program on the content of the Year 2018 Lagos SUBEB Action Plan.
At the program which took place at Odiolowo Ojuwoye LCDA hall, Mrs. Bolanle Dare, Senior Program Officer of HDI, urged parents to collaborate with the Lagos state government to ensure that millions of students return to school.
Bolanle noted that Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board has put in place a conducive environment, proper and improved procedures to ensure students resume without stress once government schools are permitted to reopen for academic sessions.
Bolanle said the Lagos government has created a leveled ground for all children to have access to education but parents must also play their roles by preparing their children for academic success.
She added that the government cannot be isolated in the race to ensure that “no child is left behind” which makes it important for parents to join the good works by following-up their children’s academic journeys and providing the necessary guidance and support.
Bolanle also sensitized the parents to follow up on other children’s activities in their community and report any illegal activities noticed to the HDI team and security agencies.
She said: “If we keep quiet because they are not our children, one day we will cry out because their activities will come back to haunt us.”
Bolanle Dare, with the help of other HDI team members, also trained the parents on how to use a voice app were all illegal activities on the part of the teachers, students, or SUBEB contractors can be reported.
Bolanle said funds have been released to the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board for constructions, maintenance, and other school intervention programs.
She noted that it’s the duty of HDI and other stakeholders to monitor the funds and act as a whistleblower once an attempt to launder the funds is suspected.
Princess Olufemi Akinlude, Education Secretary of Mushin LGA, while speaking at the event, stated that government schools in Mushin were ready for resumption.
Akinlude, however, noted that most of the out-of-school children in Mushin are from neighboring local governments and other states.
“I will not accept that many of them are from Mushin. Many are from neighboring local government areas and states and in our effort to ensure no child is left behind we have been going round to get them registered.”
Akinlude also showered praises on parents in Mushin, she noted that they have been cooperative with the government by providing internet access for lectures during COVID-19.
Akinlude stated that the large turnout of parents’ at the HDI program further showed the synergy between the parents and the education ministry in Mushin.
However, at the end of the sensitization program, Akinlude and the parents at the event jointly thanked the Human Development Initiatives (HDI). They promised to continue in their roles to ensure no child is left behind in Lagos state.