Human Development Initiatives, HDI Nigeria, a non- governmental organisation working to ensure accountability and transparency in the utilization of Universal Basic Education Funds, UBEF, particularly in Lagos State, on Wednesday advised the government of Lagos State to address Policy gaps in school enrolment.
The organisation also enjoin Lagos State government to be creative around the timing for re-enrolment which it said will solve a lot of problem bedeviling qualitative basic education.
Through its Project coordinator, Mr Johnson Ibidapo, at a media and Civil Society organisation round-table meeting organized at its head office in Lagos, the organisation said if a state is zero tolerance to out of school children, then its gate must be opened all through the year to enrol them.
Ibidapo, however, affirmed that the issue is a peculiar one because Lagos is a state like no other where every Nigerian wants to live, adding that as government enroll six today, 10 is already on the street tomorrow.
He also implored government to open its gates to Public Private Partnership for more infrastructural development as the current infrastructure cannot accommodate all the Out of School Children.
The project coordinator also added that collaborating with private sectors, stakeholders and investors will result into bringing up more school buildings, fences, infrastructures and also construct accessible roads for those schools which the topography is against the children and their parents.
“Government should also do more in allocating resources to basic, secondary and tertiary education because with what we have now, we pray we don’t run into crisis in the future”.
Ibidapo also shed light on the essence of the organization’s synergy with the Media and the CSOs at the roundtable, which he said was to dialogue on their challenges in their work in basic education sector and to also find a common front to deal with the issues bedeviling the sector.
“when you work with other people who are professionals in their own field, you will be able to achieve much more”, he added.
Earlier is her welcome address, HDI Executive Director, Mrs Funso Owasanoye said since the government has determined not to leave any child behind, there was need for government to increase allocation of resources to basic, secondary and tertiary education to avoid running into crisis in the nearest future.
She encouraged participants present to open up on their challenges so as to achieve a common goal for the benefits of the children.
Some of the challenges identified were, accessibility to admission prerequisite and information in government schools, inadequate funding, lack of data of out of school children for government to plan, inadequate and poor school infrastructure, lack of motivations for teachers and lack of mentorship just to mention a few.
It was however agreed that there should be more community advocacy for parents and community members to report issues in their children’s schools, engagement of retired teachers as mentors for children, special allowances for teachers in riverine and hard to reach area and continuous collaboration and training for the Media professionals.
Recalled that the bulk of UBE funds is directly managed by States through their States Universal Basic Education Boards, SUBEB and the funds cover projects as construction of new projects, rehabilitation of old structures, fencing and furniture for both the teachers and the students.
HDI advocates to ensure education goods and services get delivered to schools.