EduPlana, a civic tech organisation advocating for the improvement of the education sector, held a Talkathon on 19th October 2019 to engage the public on how to proffer solution to dilapidated public schools.
In his welcome address, Oriyomi Ogunwale, Lead, EduPlana Nigeria, noted that there is no real figure for education as regards data which makes it difficult to track capital project in the sector. He highlighted the value of works that EduPlana does and the feedback they get from the public who send pictures of dilapidated schools.
“Citizens led approach for young people to get access to quality education was the reason for this Talkaton and we have panelist from the Media space, technology Space, Civic and Citizens to bring best of ideas to solve the challenges of the education”, Ogunwale said.
Students still take classes under the shade of tree in Lagos State
Mr. Tayo in the keynote address representing Mrs. Oluwafunso Owasanoye Executive Director HDI detailed the work his organisation does to advocate for the access to education by the children. One of the works they do is to ensure that Universal Basic Education, UBE funds are properly utilized. He cited in Ojo area of Lagos State that there is school where students still sit under the tree for class. Basic education is a right and compulsory.
He stressed further that the use of substandard materials in construction such that school building collapse are stopped and excuse is one key area they also advocate as they engage artisan to monitor these project since it is their children who will eventually be victims should anything happens as a means for inclusiveness of all in education.
“There are 1,100 public primary schools and 340 public junior secondary schools in Lagos state, these schools are a direct responsibility of SUBEB. SUBEB and Ministry of Education are independent of each other but when we are on the field to get information about project some teacher in the Junior Secondary Schools deny us access as they claim only Ministry of Education can authorise them to give such information.” Tayo alleged.
“Only 28 schools benefited from the money disbursed for infrastructural development (fencing and renovation) project which is 2.8% and only 10 LGA in Lagos benefited from the total funding which translate to 4%” he said.
Role of the Media
In her contributions, Kofoworola Bello-Osagie, Journalist with The Nation Newspaper spoke on the need for journalists to prioritize coverage of education. She said the News consumption landscape is tilted towards Politics as most FrontPage news are political centric and has been adopted as culture. “Data has been a major problem for the media but with the efforts of Eduplana and BudgIT in simplifying data which is available in the public space, the media are taking advantage of it to enrich their stories.”
It was explained that media practitioners have constraint as the interest of the publisher takes priority in what is being reported. The society needs to appreciate the media for the works that it does for it requires funding, time and travel. We must know that the media was not from the sky but from within the society itself.
Citizen Should Drive the Advocacy to Fix Public Schools
We need to map an engagement and make sense out of it in the public discuss. We need those affected directly to engage the government for the appropriate solutions. There is deficit in infrastructure, talents and skills that cannot make Nigeria students compete in the global space that have same level of university education.
Our political leaders have done all things possible within their means to shot us out, as we the citizen are not enlightened enough to understand how governance is run and work. We need to understand that advocacy change narrative in policy while activism just boost your fame since its only your face that is seen often when there is gathering of ‘we no go gree’
We need innovative approach to educate other than a means to get money to sustain our immediate stomach needs. “Education is meant to produce graduate who solve societal problems and not to carry placards for entitlement”, Segun Awosanya, CEO of Alien Media added.
We need education dialogue championed by the parent teachers association that looks into the pillars of power. There are intuitional gaps because the people do not engage the government appropriately.
Nigeria is the only country where your citizenship can expires within a period of time which you have to renew as we have in our passport and National Identity.
Technology Should be Adopted in Public Schools
Dele Bakare, CEO, Findwork contributed that technology is the new oil due to the advancement in the industry, but “we still use black and white attendance in our schools while in the advance country they use teachers’ sensor.”
“What assurances have we that our leaders would adopt and accept the solution we suggest? There are open source to put out information about schools on website app. We can generate content related to student into an app for children in the schools.”
One of the very baby steps to bring our education to limelight is to provide free internet in all public schools for both teachers and students so as to help them learn new techniques and inventions. Internet should be made accessible to all at no cost for the growth of the economy in terms of knowledge and development.
Nigeria needs to take advantage of her population to train her people in tech so as to increase talent in the space. People should not just go to schools for going sake but to put to practice what they learnt in the class after graduation but the opposite is the case as we see those who study chemical engineering working in the bank.
Advocacy in rural communities
“There is a 100 Billion naira budgeted annually for the National assembly for constituency project which the principal officer have opportunity to nominate more project to be facilitated by the MDAs. A constituent who got a motorcycle from both Senator and House of Representative member due to his being loyal to the ruling party which was part of the constituency project.’’ Adewole Aderoja, Programme Coordinator, Tracka added.
“Senators and Reps member nominate project that will advance their political domination rather than come from need assessment on what the constituency need.”
“The real advocacy is at the grassroots and not urban area, if government failed us let us not fail ourselves. It will amaze you that a church raised 50 million naira in 4 weeks to build and ultra-modern toilet which add no value to the members and members of the church continue to wallow in abject poverty.
We need everyone to become an active citizen by being conscious of what happens in our respective location either resident or work.” Adewale concluded