By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Education in Lagos State witnessed another remarkable moment of infrastructure expansion, with the addition of newly-built 150 blocks of classrooms and 1,386-bed hostels to 15 existing schools across the six education districts in the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, unveiled the iconic school projects and virtually commissioned them at a physical event organised by the Special Committee on Rehabilitation of Public Schools (SCRPS), in Agidingbi, Alausa.
The virtual commissioning was conducted in order not to disrupt academic activities at the beneficiary schools.
The projects were designed with the signature features of New School Design introduced by the Sanwo-Olu administration. Other facilities inaugurated by the Governor included composite furniture, lavatories and laundromats.
The projects were developed and delivered by SCRPS set up in 2019 by the Governor for the revamp of public schools and reduction of classroom deficit across the State.
The commissioning coincided with the unveiling of compendium of school infrastructural transformation carried out by the Committee since inception. Adding the new projects, SCRPS has successfully completed a total of 1,047 freshly-constructed and fully-furnished classroom buildings across public schools across the six education districts.
Inaugurating the school projects, Sanwo-Olu said his administration’s commitment to scale up access to education at all education levels was not in doubt, stressing that the State had committed more investment to Education and Technology in line with the cardinal objectives stipulated in the THEMES Agenda of his Government.
The Governor said his focus was predicated on complementary interventions in provision of physical infrastructure, technology, capacity building, teacher and student welfare, and reduction of the number of out-of-school children in the state.
He said: “When we came on board, one of the things we decided to do in building on the legacy of my predecessors in education was to inaugurate a Special Committee on the Rehabilitation of Public Schools in Lagos State (SCRPS) in November 2019, with a mandate to accelerate and actualise the core vision of revamping schools’ infrastructure in our State.
“Since its inauguration of SCRPS, we have started and completed several new building projects, including classrooms, hostels, security infrastructure like fencing and gate-houses, among others, and supplied new furniture for students and teachers. We have also embarked on several rehabilitation projects leading to the completion of rehabilitation projects in 197 schools.
“With the complementary activities of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) and Ministry of Education, we have successfully delivered a total of about 2,280 classrooms so far, with associated sanitary facilities, potable water systems, and security infrastructure.”
Sanwo-Olu said no part of the State was left out of the interventions injected in education, maintaining his administration’s determination to ensure equitable distribution of the dividends of good governance to all divisions in Lagos.
The Governor urged communities yet to benefit from the scheme to be patient, noting that the Committee would not carry out rehabilitation projects at once and cover every school in the State within limited period of time, but he assured that his Government would continue to expand the scale of its interventions.
He asked the beneficiaries to make good use of the facilities provided and shun any form of vandalism that may render the Government’s effort useless.
Sanwo-Olu said: “We are working very hard to make sure as many schools as possible benefit from this intervention. We cannot do everything at once and cannot cover every school in the State within a limited period of time, but rest assured we will continue to expand the scale of our interventions. I ask for the patience and understanding of those schools that are yet to benefit.
“From the schools that have benefited from this rehabilitation programme, I ask that you use these facilities judiciously and responsibly. Shun all forms of vandalism and carelessness; treat these buildings and projects as public goods that must be maintained for future generations. I have no doubt that Lagosians will be proud to see what has been done, in terms of an infrastructure revolution in Lagos public education.”
Chairman of SCRPS, Hakeem Smith, said the Committee, in the last three years, had been strategic in rolling out the programme objectives under the guidance of the Governor and had achieved significant mileage in revamping decrepit schools’ infrastructure and reducing classroom deficits.
Smith said SCRPS employed the model of constructing and furnishing one block of classroom daily since inception, which translated to 52,350 students being properly seated in a standard and conducive environment.
“We have rehabilitated 197 schools, translates to over 2,280 classrooms with associated toilets and building up new fence walls where required. We have built 1,584-bed new hostels and improved facilities for students in model colleges with complimentary laundromat and reading areas. Our intervention has led to the provision of 181,365 school furniture and this translates to 362,730 students being provided with comfortable seats to learn,” SCRPS boss said.
The beneficiaries schools are Lagos State Junior Model College, Meiran, Lagos State Baptist Secondary School, Orile-Agege, Abesan Senior High School, Alimosho, Orisunbare Senior High School, Alimosho, Luwasa Senior High School, Ijede, Lagos State Girls Junior Model College Agunfoye (Ikorodu) and Ojota Junior Secondary School, Ojota.
Others are Eva Adelaja Junior Secondary School, Bariga, Muslim Junior College, Oworoshoki, Lagos State Model College, Badore, Lagos State Model College, Agbowa (Epe), Araromi-Ilogbo Junior Secondary School, Oko-Afo, Badagry Junior Grammar School, Badagry, Ajumoni Junior Grammar School, Daleko, Mushin, and St. Joseph Secondary School, Mushin.