Chairman of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) Wahab Alawiye-King has described education as a social good that requires continuous investment if the best must be achieved.
According to the former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the social nature of education forces its demand to outweigh supply, so there is a need for continuous investments to achieve equilibrium or saturation point.
Alawiye-King, who addressed journalists in his office, said the LASUBEB is out to ensure every child’s potential is fully realised through the provision of effective and qualitative education.
He said: “Education is a social good, which makes its demand outweigh supply most of the time. This thus implies market failure, but bringing the market to equilibrium or a saturation point will require investments and interventions. These interventions, however, must come in a structured manner; they must be monitored and controlled, so they do not become intrusive interferences.
“Investment in education is also a continuous process and not a one-shot deal. Lagos State has about 1,017 schools and 14,000 teachers; this is a good example of very limited resources for competing uses and users. This thus pushes us to improvise, prioritise, and optimise our resources. Aside from infrastructure, the content is also very paramount. Though it has been established that learning can happen anywhere, we don’t want to rely on that, which is why we make our environment conducive to learning and teaching. The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education praised us for doing a good job after visiting Lagos and other states. We are not resting as we are determined to make Lagos better than we met it. This can, however, be possible when every stakeholder contributes their effort.
“Schools are part of the community, and so people must take ownership. We don’t want to create a tragedy of the commons where what belongs to everybody belongs to nobody, and somebody must take ownership. That is why we are working with our social mobilisation department, a bridge between the community and the schools, to enlighten them on why they must take ownership. Those are some things we do to ensure we continue to have better infrastructure in our schools.
“Since our mantra says ”leaving no child behind”, we are also doing all we can to ensure our special-need children have access to quality basic education. We are not discriminatory and prejudicial to people with disabilities, and that is why we keep improving the 31 inclusive units/schools because we want those special-need pupils to see themselves as part of society. We also have about five special needs schools for those who must be given special consideration.
“We also train our teachers, especially to be able to teach this category of pupils. We have developed the cooperative teaching manual for our teachers so that regular teachers can also teach a special pupil. Every other teacher can use the manual to teach special kids.
“Many of our schools are also new-designs and special need-friendly for accessibility, forming part of the agreement with UBEC on infrastructural development. There is the mid-day meal for special-needs children, fully sponsored by the state government. We don’t discriminate in any way and we will continue to reach out to international and local organisations to assist us.”