Folasade Adefisayo, Commissioner of Education, Lagos State chose “collaboration” when panellists were asked to mention one word that represents their perspective of how African Governments can harness the science of education to drive learning gains at a webinar recently.
Indeed, her choice of word mirrored the strategy of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) which has explored collaboration to deliver quality education to at least 25 million children in over 30 low-income countries in the past six years.
By year-end 2017, the collaboration between GPE, the World Bank Group and other partners berthed projects valued at $1.6 billion, in addition to $1.1 billion in International Development Association (IDA) co-financed projects.
“We have an education transformation plan in Lagos State that has 15 objectives. “The 10th objective is to engage with the private sector in developing education. We must be able to work with corporate organisations, communities and even old students’ associations,” to deepen education, she noted.
A stitch in time
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the Lagos State Ministry of Education is reputed to have moved quickly and forged close ties with radio and television stations, technology enabling organisations and other private sector stakeholders to deliver lessons to pupils across the states in their homes.
A major lesson from the experience of Lagos is that governments must be clear and transparent about their goals and long-term objectives in the education sector. The private sector has to believe in what the government is doing. On their part, governments must find a way to sell their vision to the private sector.
Collaborating for results
A novel method that has been explored by the Lagos ministry of education is partnerships with sister ministries. For instance, to execute student-related education projects that border on agriculture, partnership and collaborations are explored with the ministry of agriculture. This model is replicated for projects which border on other economic sectors.
This strategy has obliterated previously insurmountable technical and funding gaps that schools grappled with for decades. It has delivered quality learning opportunities to students and learning opportunities to teachers across the state.
Embracing the future
The Lagos State Education Board notes that EKOEXCEL is dramatically accelerating learning, with children learning two times more maths and three times more in literacy. In the same vein, Edo State has adopted a model worth emulating at the national level. The Edo State Government, led by Governor Godwin Obaseki, implemented the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme to improve basic education across the state three years ago. The collaborative efforts of the Lagos and Edo government are models which the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Government should adopt, especially in states where educational indices remain worrisome. To be sure, there are partners who have delivered on learning objectives across continents already. These helplines should be explored.