EKOEXCEL, the innovative digital initiative launched in 2019 by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to transform primary schools, recorded another milestone recently when Lagos State pupils emerged second and third at the National Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists (JETS) competition.
The competition, which was organised by the Department of Science and Technology, Federal Ministry of Education, held at the National Mathematical Centre, Abuja, from September 30 to November 6, 2022, three pupils of the EKOEXCEL initiative overseen by the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) shined brightly in the two categories they competed in.
While John Daniel from St. Francis Primary School, Maryland, came second in the quiz competition, two girls, Unique Emmanuel and Sarah Adeyemi of Monsuru Agoro Primary School, Mafoluku, took the third position in the project competition.
Affirming the inclusive education pupils are receiving with EKOEXCEL, the two girls presented an air and temperature monitoring system they developed using an embedded approach.
Speaking about their feat, Emmanuel and Adeyemi attributed it to the quality instruction they received under EKOEXCEL, noting that it has tremendously improved their education.
Emmanuel said: “EKOEXCEL has impacted more knowledge in my life. I have learned so many things through the programme, and I so much love the strive points. Learning through the EKOEXCEL programme has made me know faster and think faster. It has also made me organised and punctual in school. It allows for interaction whenever our teacher asks us to discuss it during a lesson.”
Adeyemi, on her part, commended the variety of textbooks they got under the scheme. “This helped me to read widely and acquire more knowledge. It also helped me to excel in my last JETS competition and brought victory to the state and the school. EKOEXCEL motivates us to learn in class through songs and teaching.”
Daniel, who came second in the quiz competition and wants to be a biologist, also attributed his success to EKOEXCEL, saying, “my favourite thing about the EKOEXCEL programme is the striving pupils and the great work sections of the character board, which keeps every learner on their toes both morally and academically. It has allowed me to keep adding to my ever-growing vocabulary with new words learned from the vocabulary section of most subjects.”
Commenting on Lagos’ excellent showing, LASUBEB Chair, Wahab Alawiye-King, said: “This achievement excites all of us about the EKOEXCEL programme, especially because of the participation by females in this cohort. One of the core principles of EKOEXCEL is inclusion, and we are happy that our female pupils are proving their mettle on the national stage. Our pupils’ achievements also reassure us that we are on the right track, and we will not relent.”
Nobel Prize-winning economist, Prof. Michael Kremer, recently hailed the methodology underpinning the EKOEXCEL programme for promoting equity, tackling learning poverty and assisting struggling students in its schools to learn effectively alongside their more gifted peers.
The transformational intervention has also boosted uniformity and strict adherence to the curriculum. Teachers’ tablets are preloaded with lessons and content that can be effectively monitored for standardisation across all 1,012 Lagos public primary schools.
Commendably, all the achievements are not just based on conjectures. They are factual, as the EKOEXCEL 2020-2021 Endline Fluency and Numeracy Evaluation showed that EKOEXCEL pupils are making remarkable progress in oral reading fluency and foundational numeracy compared to their last performance before the initiative’s commencement.
Former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission and a prominent science educator, Prof. Peter Okebukola, founded the Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists (JETS) Club in 1982. The club aims to expose young minds to science, engineering and technology.
Some of its objectives include preparing young minds for a high level of imagination and reasoning, teaching young minds to acquire valuable practical skills and equipping young minds with a broad range of engineering and science-related skills.